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Camden, SC (WLTX) - There is a machine out there that tests to make sure people are correctly using fire extinguishers.

"When winter is coming on, we think about heating related malfunctions in heating units," said Camden Fire Chief John Bowers. "Generally all year round, cooking related fires are going to be up there on the top of the list."

Bowers says if that happens, getting away from the fire and calling 911 should always be the first priorities.

Sometimes though, you may be able to put the fire out with an extinguisher in your home.

"You need to have a fire extinguisher outside the heating and cooking areas," said Bowers. "In other words, you wouldn't want a fire extinguisher in the kitchen because typically the kitchen or stove is going to catch on fire because it was left unattended.You'll find it's too hot to return to that area."

So, step one is making sure your fire extinguisher is in the right place so you can get to it in case of an emergency.

"The key to using your fire extinguisher is putting the extinguishing agent as close to the base of the fire as you can," said AssistantCamden Fire Chief EddieGardner.

Gardner says you should start between 6 and 8 feet away from the fire.

Then PASS:

Pull the pin out of the extinguisher.

Aim toward the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handle so the extinguishing agent comes out.

Sweep from left to right to cover all of the flames.

Gardner says if the fire is too big for the extinguisher, let the firefighters handle it.

"Always keep your eyes on the fire until you're a safe distance away."

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