Today’s topic is one that is important, and while I hope you never need to use one, I’m going to give you the run down on fire extinguishers. Why should you care about having fire extinguishers in your home? Because these things can buy you time and save lives! If you have a small fire, it can put it out and decrease property damage. If you have a larger fire, it will give you time…. While you suppress the flames, it gives everyone time to escape.
What do you need to know about picking a fire extinguisher?
All household extinguishers are classified A, B, or C (or a combination of these) on the label. This letters are used indicate which types of fires you can use them on. Many of the fire extinguishers sold at home stores are classified A:B:C and fight all three types of fires.
A is ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, and cloth
B is flammable liquids, such as gasoline or cooking oil
C is live electricity.
Also, keep in mind the weight on an extinguisher refers to the weight of the chemicals inside. The canister it comes in adds weight. While bigger might sound better, pick one you can easy maneuver. Some extinguishers are refillable, while others are disposable. Both will need to be checked from time to time to make sure the pressure gauge shows they are still in working order. Disposables are cheaper to buy, but the advantage to refillable extinguishers are that if the gauge shows low pressure, or you have to use it, it can be refilled instead of tossing it.
We have disposable extinguishers in our home. We bought them close to 10 years ago and they are still good. You should check your pressure gauge whenever you change the batteries in your smoke detectors.
How do you use a fire extinguisher?
You should know how to use a fire extinguisher BEFORE you need to use it, there will be no time to read the how to once a fire has already started!! Just remember the word PASS, as it is an acronym for what to do……
P - Pull the pin
A - Aim the nozzle at the base of the flames
S - Squeeze the trigger
S - Sweep the spray from side to side
You will want to work as fast as possible because a typical extinguisher can have as little as 8 seconds of life. And make sure you can back out as you fight the flames, aka never let the flame get between you and your exit.
If you do manage to “put the fire out,” do not cancel any calls you have made to the fire department. Let the professionals double check your handy work. No one wants a flare up! Just because you knock down the flame, doesn't mean it is out.
Where should you keep a fire extinguisher?
- Garage/home workshop
- Laundry room
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have at least one fire extinguisher for each floor of your home. Don't forget the basement!
Now that you know a bit more about the what, why and how of fire extinguishers, please remember, no matter how many you have, always have a fire plan and practice it. Make sure everyone in your household know how to get out fast, where to meet up once they are out, and how to call 911.
**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**