Do You Know How to Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher?
Whether it’s the holiday season or heat of summer, fires can spread to dangerous and even deadly levels in a matter of seconds. Fire extinguishers are the most common fire safety tool to help keep your family safe and minimize destruction. Do you know how to use it properly?
Home Fire Statistics
- Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Years Day are the top three days for home candle fires. (Insurance Information Institute)
- Over 51 percent of home fires are caused by cooking from 2008-2017. (U.S. Fire Administration)
- Within one year, home fires rose two percent from 2017. (National Fire Protection Association)
- In 2018, home fires caused 2,720 deaths. (National Fire Protection Association)
How to Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher
Follow These Steps:
As a quick reminder, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends using the PASS method when using a fire extinguisher.
Pull the extinguisher’s pin
Aim it low at the base of the fire
Squeeze the lever slowly
Sweep the extinguisher from left to right
Remember to never aim the fire extinguisher in your direction. It’s also important to know your extinguisher’s pressure as some are too low to fight a fire. Lastly, do not use a fire extinguisher more than once unless it clearly states that it can be recharged by a professional.
Choosing the Right One for Your Home
Different extinguishers respond to different classes of fires, so it’s important to get one for your home that can respond to your home’s biggest fire risks.
A – Combustibles including wood, paper and trash
B – Flammable liquids including gas and oil
C – Electrical equipment and electricity
D – Flammable metals including aluminum and magnesium
K – Cooking oils and fats
It’s best to have a multipurpose extinguisher that fights fire classes A, B and C. But to be on the safe side, consider adding another extinguisher that fights dry chemical class fires B and C. The classes are easy to spot on the side of the extinguisher.
Most extinguishers only reach from 12 to 18 feet, so be sure to consider your home’s space as you may need one with a wider range. You’ll also want to make sure the extinguisher isn’t too heavy and is easy to mount on the wall. Most fire extinguishers weigh five pounds.
Make Fire Preparedness a Priority
Don’t wait until disaster strikes to improve your home’s fire safety and prevention. A fire extinguisher is the first step to fire preparedness. You should also consider a smoke detector, either purchased as a standalone device or through a home security system provider. Think about your home’s biggest fire threats and what prevention tools and steps you can take to keep your family prepared.