Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? Would you know what to do if you needed to? Many homeowners don’t know how to handle a fire in the heat of the moment. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared.
Why You Need a Fire Extinguisher
First, make sure that you have a fire extinguisher. The National Fire Protection Agency recommends having a fire extinguisher on each floor of the home. Place your fire extinguishers near an exit or in areas where there’s more likely to be a fire, like the kitchen. If you rent, your landlord is typically responsible for providing a fire extinguisher. However, you can buy your own for anywhere between $20-$70. While a fire extinguisher can be a lifesaver, you need to have working fire alarms to let you know there’s a fire first. Make sure to check the batteries on your fire alarms every six months.
The Types of Fire Extinguishers
If you’re shopping for new fire extinguishers, it helps to know what kinds there are and which is right for your needs. When looking at fire extinguishers, you’ll notice that they’re either labeled with an “A”, “B”, or “C”. These letters refer to the types of fires these extinguishers are capable of extinguishing.
Class “A”: These extinguishers are effectively put out fires on paper, wood, textiles, and plastics.
Class “B”: These extinguishers specialize in putting out liquid fires, like the kind that involve cooking oil, paint, gasoline or kerosene.
Class “C”: These extinguishers are best for electrical fires and live wires.
The best kind of fire extinguisher for the average home is a multi-purpose “ABC” fire extinguisher that’s capable of handling a variety of different fires. These extinguishers come in either single-use or rechargable.
How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Luckily, a fire extinguisher is easy to use if you know how to. The handy PASS acronym can help you remember how to work your extinguisher:
Pull the pin. Point the nozzle away from you and release the locking mechanism by pulling the pin.
Aim low, pointing towards the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
Homeowners should use their fire extinguishers on small fires that are not growing. If you find yourself fighting a bigger fire, be sure to keep your back to a clear exit and leave the room if smoke fills it. Your fire extinguisher should be replaced every 5 to 15 years, depending on the model. And of course, as a precaution, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have homeowner’s insurance.
Wachter Business Insurance
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