Who needs a fire extinguisher?

Who needs a fire extinguisher?
Everyone.
Whether you own your home or rent, you should have at least one fire extinguishers. More than one is even better especially if you live in a multi-floor home.

Many people have fire extinguishers in their home and/or cars. That is terrific. Everyone should have fire extinguishers handy in case of an emergency. The only problem is, most people have never used an extinguisher and really have no idea how to or if they even have the right kind.

Who needs a fire extinguisher?

Everyone.

Whether you own your home or rent, you should have at least one fire extinguishers. More than one is even better especially if you live in a multi-floor home.

Types of fire extinguishers

Not all fires are the same, and neither are fire extinguishers. The letters A, B and C on the label refer to the types of fire the extinguisher is capable of putting out.

  • Class A extinguishers are intended for fires in paper, wood, textiles and plastics. (“A” for “ash.”)
  • Class B extinguishers are used on liquid fires; cooking oil, paint, gasoline or kerosene. (“B” for “barrel.”)
  • Class C extinguishers are effective on electrical fires and live wiring. (“C” for “current.”)

The best choice for your home is a multi-purpose extinguisher like ABC, which can be used on all types of fires. Some extinguishers are one time use while others can be recharged. Make sure you know which kind you have and how to refill it if it is a reusable one.

Extinguishers also come in different sizes. Most people think bigger is better, but if it’s too heavy for you to easily lift, it won’t be much use to you.

How to use a fire extinguisher

If there’s a fire, call 911. Fire spreads rapidly – even if you end up extinguishing the fire yourself, it’s a good idea to have the pros on the way just in case you run into any problems.

If you do need to use your extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association uses the handy acronym PASS:

  • Pull the pin. Grab the extinguisher, point the nozzle away from you and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low, pointing the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Use your extinguisher on a small fire that’s not growing – for example, a fire contained in a wastebasket. When fighting the fire, keep your back to a clear exit so you can make an escape if you need to. If the room fills with smoke or the fire grows, leave immediately.

If you’d prefer a hands-on learning experience, call your local fire department. Most offer training on how to use a fire extinguisher.

When to replace a fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers don’t last forever. All models can lose pressure over time. Depending on the model, they last between 5 and 15 years – even if no expiration date is listed.

To make sure your fire extinguisher is in good working order, check the pressure gauge monthly. If it’s in the green, it’s functional. If it’s in the yellow or red, it will need refilled or serviced. Replace yours ASAP if you notice any of these things:

  • The hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped, or jammed.
  • The locking pin is unsealed or missing.
  • The handle is missing or unsteady.
  • The inspection sticker or service record is missing.

Hopefully, you will never have to deal with a home or auto fire, but just in case you do, you’ll want to make sure everything is covered properly. Some home insurance policies only offer Actual Cash Value for your possessions while other will give you replacement value. Some items have limited coverage although you can usually buy extra coverage if you need it. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to review your policy with you to make sure everything is covered the way you want it to be.

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