So, You Have a Fire Extinguisher?
This is posed as a question, because many folks will tell me that they have a fire extinguisher(s) in their home, however when I ask them to tell me more they often stumble. Could you tell me the different type(s) you have? The locations of each? How to check/maintain them? or How to use them in a real event? If not, please read on!
What Type Do You Have?
Not all fires are the same and thus you need a fire extinguisher that can suppress multiple types of fires. In general an ABC Type is recommended for home use. The A, B and C classes serve as labels for the types of fires they are designed to extinguish. Type A are designed to combat combustibles (wood, paper, cloth, etc.), Type B is designed for flammable liquids (cooking oils, gasoline, etc.) and Type C is designed for electrical fires. Therefore, having an ABC type of fire extinguisher is most effective at combating small fires in the home (size of a wastebasket).
How Many and Where?
At a minimum, it is recommended that you have one fire extinguisher for each floor of your home. To be more protective, have them placed within 40 feet of one another and have them placed in rooms with heat sources like stoves and fireplaces. Hanging them near exits rather than at the source of the heat source, will allow you to keep an exit behind you, if you choose to battle a small fire.
Check your fire extinguishers monthly. Shake the extinguisher upon inspection (to prevent saturation of the contents) and make sure that the pressure is adequate by checking that the needle is pointing to the green area of the dial.
Know How to Use It!
Learn how to use a fire extinguisher now! You don't want to try to learn it in the moment. Remember this acronym P.A.S.S. P = Pull the pin, A= Aim at the base of the fire, S = Squeeze the trigger and S = Sweep back and forth to extinguish the flames. Ask you local fire department if they provide training or you can Learn How Here!
Lastly, follow these tips before you use a fire extinguisher:
Know how to use it
Know how to tell if the fire is safe to fight
Call 911 beforehand
Others have been alerted and evacuated to safety
You can quickly exit, if needed
If you would like assistance with your family's home plans please, Contact HT2!