Having a fire extinguisher in your home can mean the difference between a small fire accident and a serious fire which may damage a large portion of your home and/or injure you or your loved ones. However, not all extinguishers are the same, just like not all fires are the same, and using the wrong extinguisher on a fire can actually make it worse. That’s why it is important to familiarize yourself with the kinds of home fire extinguishers and when and how to use them. In this article safety professionals from Red Truck Fire & Safety Co. will share some basics about fire extinguishers in your home.
Unlike professional and commercial extinguishers which come in several varieties, extinguishers intended for home use are split into three basic categories – A, B, and C.
Extinguishers labeled A are used for putting out fires caused by solid fuels such as wood, paper, or cloth. They are the most common type of extinguishers, but you need to be careful how you use them because they are not suitable for putting out kitchen fires caused by cooking.
If you experience a fire caused by a liquid fuel or cooking oil, you will need to use a class B extinguisher. Most extinguishers also have a label saying how effective they are against the type of fire they are supposed to put out.
So a 4-B will be better that 2-B, but also more expensive, so you will need to decide on your own how to prioritize between the two.
Finally, class C extinguishers are used to put out fires caused by electrical malfunctions. These extinguishers have no rating, but the chemicals in the container will not conduct electricity, and that is the most important thing when it comes to electrical fires.
Extinguishers intended for home use come in 3 sizes, all of which are smaller than the standard size of a commercial extinguisher. The reason why this is the case is because the people who are intended to use these extinguishers are most likely not trained and the fires that need to be put out are smaller.
These are really small and most commonly, they’re non-refillable, meaning that you will need to throw them away if and when they are expended. These tanks are best used for really small fires, so keep them close.
Five-pound extinguishers are very common in the household and are often kept in the kitchen where the majority of house fires start. Due to their size, they can be equipped with a hose which should help you use it more effectively.
The largest size recommended for home use is the 10 pound one. These tanks are relatively large and more difficult to handle, which is why they are recommended to keep somewhere where it will not be in the way, but from where it can easily be retrieved if needed. Just like the 5-pound ones, these extinguishers come with a hose which helps direct the chemicals at the fire more directly and efficiently.
How Extinguishers Are Used
Even the simplified home use extinguishers need to be handled properly in order to do their jobs. The simplest way to put it is to use the acronym PASS.
P stands for pulling the safety pin on the top of the extinguisher.
A stands for aiming the nozzle at the base of the fire rather than onto the flames themselves. You need to put out the source of the fire.
S stands for squeezing the lever to start spraying the chemical. Squeeze and hold the lever and make sure that the canister is in the upright position.
S stands for sweeping motion which you should use to spread the chemical onto the base of the flame until the extinguisher is empty.
Once the fire extinguisher is empty, you can have it recharged by a fire extinguisher service or replace it if it is not rechargeable. Knowing a bit more about fire extinguishers can mean the difference between having a small fire easily contained and a serious house fire which can cause a lot of property damage and injure you or your loved ones, so take the extra step and learn the basics.