A fire extinguisher is an essential piece of equipment for any home. These canisters act to smother a fire with foam, chemicals and/or ashes. However, fire extinguishers shouldn't just be purchased and forgotten. There are several things every homeowner needs to be aware of regarding fire extinguishers.
1. Fire extinguishers don't last forever.
That fire extinguisher you purchased (or that your mother gave you) ten years ago is probably not going to do you any good in the event of a fire. In fact, you could lose precious seconds during a fire trying to get an expired extinguisher to work. Make note of the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and make sure to replace it well before that date. Make it a habit to check your fire extinguishers annually when you check the batteries in your fire detectors. Many fire departments will test fire extinguishers for free.
2. A fire extinguisher doesn't replace the fire department.
Fire extinguishers are designed to quickly put out a small, contained fire. They are not designed to tackle a large or spreading fire. That's what the fire department is for. They have the training and equipment for heavy-duty fire fighting.
3. Not all fire extinguishers are created alike.
There are four different kinds of fire extinguishers, each designed to combat a particular type of fire. Type A is designed for ordinary combustibles, such as cloth, rubber, wood and some plastics. The "A" stands for ashes. Type B fire extinguishers helps to combat flammable liquids, such as gasoline, kerosene and motor oils. The "B" stands for barrels. Type C fire extinguishers are made for electrical fires. The "C" can be easily remembered as standing for currents. Type D fire extinguishers are made for metal fire, such as those involving magnesium or titanium. These are very dangerous fires and aren't suitable for the general public. Think "D" for dangerous. The most common household extinguisher is an ABC model, which is designed to fight electrical, flammable liquid and common combustible fires.
4. Fire extinguishers require maintenance. They must be recharged after every use.
5. Don't get too close to the fire when using the extinguisher. It's recommended that you stand approximately ten feet from the fire.
While a fire extinguisher is a necessity for every home and invaluable to combat small fires, make sure that you know what type of extinguisher to buy for each area of your home (kitchen vs. garage), when to replace your extinguisher and when an extinguisher need maintenance. That way you'll have the right equipment at hand when you need it.
For more information, contact companies like Echo Fire Protection.