Do You Have Fire Extinguisher in your Home?

Every home should have one, does yours?     

You would use a portable fire extinguisher whenever the fire is confined to a small area, such as a stovetop, and is not growing, everyone has exited the building, the fire department has been called or is being called, and the room is not filled with smoke.  If you already have a fire extinguisher in your home, check the bottom for the date.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends replacing fire extinguishers older than 12 years.   If your extinguisher doesn’t have a date on the bottom, you should replace it.  Fire extinguishers are available at your local hardware store or home center, and other retailers.  

Purchasing a Fire Extinguisher  

For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle. These are also known as “ABC” fire extinguishers.  Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.   

Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. YouTube is a great source for videos on fire extinguishers and their use.   

Installing Your Fire Extinguisher  

Mount your fire extinguishers close to an exit.  Be sure the extinguisher will not be blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that could interfere with access in an emergency.   

Your Euclid Fire Department recommends one on every floor.   Considering the leading cause of home fires nationwide is unattended cooking, if you only have one, it should be mounted in the kitchen. 

Maintaining Your Fire Extinguisher  

Be sure the pressure is at the recommended level. On extinguishers equipped with a gauge, the needle should be in the green zone - not too high and not too low.  The nozzle or other parts should not be blocked in any way.  Look for things like spider webs, grease, dust, etc.  The pin and tamper seal (if it has one) should be intact.  There shouldn’t be any dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and/or other signs of abuse/wear. Wipe off any corrosive chemicals, oil, gunk etc. that may have deposited on the extinguisher.   


Using Your Fire Extinguisher  

Remember to keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.     

Know When To Go.   

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives, BUT portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the #1 priority for residents is to get out safely.   

Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms. Remember when you turn your clocks ahead this month, check and test your smoke alarm.  Check the date on your smoke alarm.  Alarms more than 10 years old should be replaced.   If there is no date on your smoke alarm, it should be replaced. There are smoke alarms available that have a lifetime (10 year) battery.

Jeff McDaniel

Working in the City of Euclid for 29 years as a Firefighter, Paramedic, Fire Safety Inspector and Fire Investigator.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 2:41 PM, 03.10.2019