While larger fires should only be handled by professional firefighters, smaller fires can often be put out using a portable fire extinguisher. Because of this, it is recommended that every household have fire extinguishers conveniently placed throughout a home.
What Kind of Fire Extinguisher Should You Buy?
There are a number of different fire extinguishers that specialize in putting out different types of fires. They are labeled using a combination of letters and colored geometric symbols. For example, multi-purpose fire extinguishers that are recommended for use in the home are usually labeled as either a Class A-B or Class A-B-C extinguisher.
The other types of fire extinguishers that are available include:
Your local fire department can make recommendations if you have questions about what may be the best type of fire extinguisher for your home.
How Do You Use a Fire Extinguisher?
The best way to learn how to effectively use different types of fire extinguishers is by taking training courses when they are offered by your local fire department. However, there are general guidelines you can follow when using a multi-purpose fire extinguisher to put out a fire that is confined to a small area:
If the fire is not immediately put out, or if the room fills with smoke, leave it immediately and call the fire department.
How Do You Store A Fire Extinguisher?
Fire extinguishers should be stored in plain sight so they can be accessed quickly if they are ever needed. Unless the manufacturer's instructions say otherwise, fire extinguishers should be stored upright and with their safety clips or pins in place. Some places fire experts recommend storing fire extinguishers around your home include:
How Do You Maintain A Fire Extinguisher?
All fire extinguishers need some inspection and maintenance to ensure they are still operating properly. If your fire extinguisher is under- or over-inflated, have it charged according to the instructions on its label or replace it. A complete inspection of the extinguisher should be performed by a professional once a year as well.
Some additional fire extinguisher care and maintenance tips include: