SAULT STE. MARIE -- Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services is using some new technology to train people in the proper use of fire extinguishers. Rather than practicing on a real fire, they are using a simulator that mimics a variety of situations where a portable fire extinguisher might be used.

Not unlike a video game, the digital fire extinguisher acts as the controller while the screen serves as the fire. During the simulation, you point the digital extinguisher at the digital fire and put out the flames. Sault Fire Services has only just started using the technology.

“It gives them an opportunity to practice as many times as they want with the simulated fire,” says Naomi Thibault, Public Education Officer with the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services.

“With our live training system outside, they could really only practice once and once the fire extinguisher was done, that was it.”

Thibault says learning how to use a fire extinguisher is an important life skill, and she has an easy way for everyone to remember - PASS, which stands for Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle, and use a Sweeping motion to put out the fire.

Sault Fire Services also recommends that people inspect their extinguishers once a month and not to store them under the kitchen sink, where Thibault says most people do.

“That makes it very difficult when a fire is happening in your kitchen if your stove is close to your sink to actually access your fire extinguisher,” she says. “So we recommend actually mounting them to the wall toward the kitchen door, exit door.”

Sault Fire Services offers training in the proper use of extinguishers to any community group that requests it. They also want to point out that a fire extinguisher should only be used when it is safe to do so and never to put yourself at risk.