Your next investment in fire prevention and safety, after a smoke detector, should be a fire extinguisher. Fire experts recommend at least one for every level of your house. They come in various sizes; you’ll need to choose the size that’s right for you based on your family situation and who you think is most likely to be using it. The five pound model is probably the most popular. Extinguishers also come with designations of A, B, C, or all three.
The letter refers to what type of fire they’re best at putting out. “A” refers to ordinary materials such as paper or wood. “B” refers to highly combustible materials such as cooking oil. “C” refers to electrical fires. If the extinguisher has all three letters, it’s good for putting out any kind of fire. The letters A and B will also have a number along with them, and the higher the number, the better the extinguisher is at putting out that type of fire. There are also two kinds of valves on extinguishers: metal and plastic. The ones with metal valves are refillable after use; the ones with plastic valves are one time only disposables. Fire safety experts recommend that you keep your extinguisher near the main exit of your home. Not only does that help you remember where it is, but it also enables you to use it as you are moving from the fire, which would be true in the vast majority of cases. Some people also like to keep one in the kitchen, near the stove.
Fire Extinguisher Use
Of course, fire extinguishers will do you precious little good if you’re not familiar with how to operate one. The vast majority of people will never use one in their lifetime, or see one being used. But it’s a skill we should all acquire, for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones. If you’re unsure of how to use one, many fire departments hold classes to teach people. It might be a good idea to attend one of these classes. They’re actually easy to use, but until you’ve seen it done it may remain a foreign concept to you. When you purchase a new extinguisher, it should come with a manual explaining its operation. Be sure and read that thoroughly. But just in case, here are the basics of using a fire extinguisher. At the top, near the valve, is a safety pin with a round piece attached to it. Grab hold of the round part of the pin, and pull the pin out. Then point the nozzle where the flames are coming from, not at the flames themselves. You want to shut the fire down at its source. Make sure you’re at least six feet away from the flames. Then squeeze the trigger, which releases the actual chemicals, and move the extinguisher back and forth in a sweeping motion to get good coverage, while keeping it upright. That’s all there is to it. It’s not hard, but when you’re panicked, you don’t want to be struggling with what to do, so make sure you’ve got the technique down before you actually need it. Fire extinguishers cost a bit more than detectors, but they’re very reasonably priced, and no home should be without at least one. If you should ever need one, and it’s there, you’ll be thankful you spent a few dollars and invested in it. If you ever need one and don’t have it, you may never forgive yourself for not spending a few dollars for safety and peace of mind. Don’t take chances. Get a fire extinguisher, and learn how to use it.
SHORTCUTS TO FIRE SAFETY ARTICLES:
Fire Safety and Electrical Appliances
Basic Smoke Detector Information
Types of Smoke Detectors
Basic Fire Extinguisher Information
Causes of Fires
Tips for Safe Use of Lighters and Matches
Explaining Fire Safety Rules to Children
The Importance of Fire Drills and Escape Plans
Kitchen Fire Prevention
Bedroom Fire Safety
Fire Safety Tips
Fireplace and Chimney Safety
Holiday Safety Tips
Miscellaneous Fire Safety Tips
EMT Test Practice Questions