Fire extinguishers are an integral part of your home fire safety plan. Here are some expert-recommended tips to keep in mind:
Equip your home
“Fire extinguishers should be placed on every level of your home and in common spaces like the kitchen, laundry room and garage,” says Ashley Gocken, a First Alert fire safety expert with Resideo Technologies. “Make sure to store extinguishers in easily accessible places, like under the kitchen sink or mounted on the wall.”
Know your ABCs
Fire extinguishers have specific ratings that indicate what kind of fire(s) they are designed to stop.
- Extinguishers with a Class A rating can put out fires caused by wood, paper, fabric and other common materials.
- Class B rated extinguishers are intended for fires fueled by flammable liquids such as gasoline.
- Class C rated extinguishers are meant for fires caused by electrical equipment, such as frayed cords.
For reliable protection, a multi-purpose, or ABC-rated, extinguisher is recommended, such as a rechargeable home model from First Alert.
Remember to PASS
Using a traditional fire extinguisher is simple if you remember the acronym PASS:
- Pull the pin. You hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the nozzle of the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
Assess the fire
In the case of a fire, assess the situation before using your extinguisher. If the fire is big or uncontrollable, evacuate your home and call 911 immediately. If the fire is small enough for you to manage with a fire extinguisher, use the PASS technique to put it out. Remember, the most important thing is that you and others safely evacuate the home.
Inspect extinguishers regularly
Regularly examine your fire extinguishers to help ensure they will function properly in the event of a fire emergency. Check your extinguisher’s pressure gauge. If the pointer is in the green zone, your extinguisher is properly pressurized and ready for use. If the pointer is in the red zone, your fire extinguisher should be serviced or replaced. Remember, a fire extinguisher that has been discharged should never be stored without proper recharging by a certified professional.