Emergency Fire Response During the Incipient Stage of a Fire

Emergency Fire Response During the Incipient Stage of a Fire

January 23, 2024

In less than 30 seconds a small fire can turn into a major flame. Yet, the average response time for a fire department in the United States is 5 minutes, 20 seconds. Educate your employees on emergency fire response, especially during the "Incipient Stage," or initial stage of a fire.

Share the article below and distribute the handout to prepare your employees on how to react to a fire and use a fire extinguisher.

What is the Incipient Stage?

The incipient stage is the beginning of a fire that can be extinguished or controlled by portable firefighting equipment. An incipient fire can be defined by the following factors:

  • Flames that are small and not widespread
  • Smoke that allows for visibility in the room
  • The heat emitted from the flame is low

Emergency Fire Response Procedure During Incipient Stage

Follow the below procedure when a fire is found only in the incipient stage. Once the fire progresses to the "Growth Stage" where the structure of the building can become affected the procedure does not pertain.

  1. Sound the fire alarm and call the fire department, if appropriate.
  2. Identify a safe evacuation path before approaching the fire. Do not allow the fire, heat, or smoke to come between you and your evacuation path.
  3. Select the appropriate type of fire extinguisher.
  4. Discharge the extinguisher within its effective range using the P.A.S.S. technique [See Below]
  5. Watch the area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat steps 2 - 4.
  6. Back away from an extinguished fire in case, it flames up again.
  7. Evacuate immediately if the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out.
  8. Evacuate immediately if the fire progresses beyond the incipient stage.

The P.A.S.S. Fire Extinguisher Technique

  1. PULL... Pull the pin. This will also break the tamper seal.
  2. AIM... Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire. [NOTE: Do not touch the plastic discharge horn on CO2 extinguishers, it gets very cold and may damage the skin.]
  3. SQUEEZE... Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
  4. SWEEP... Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out.

*At Friedlander, we care about the health and safety of employees first and foremost. The primary concerns should be sounding an alarm and evacuating the building but using a fire extinguisher in extreme emergencies.