Fire Extinguishers

What type of fire extinguisher do I need?

Not all fire extinguishers can be effectively used on all fires. Some fires involve flammable liquids, some involve paper, and some involve electrical equipment. Fire extinguishers are classified by the type of fire they best extinguish.

  • Class A – These fires involve materials that are made of paper, cardboard, and some plastics.

  • Class B – These fires involve flammable and combustible liquids.

  • Class C – These are fires that involve electrical equipment (toaster, coffee maker, etc).

  • Class D – These fires involve metals that can burn. Normally, most of us won’t be exposed to these type fires unless you work in a machine shop.

  • Class K – These fire extinguishers are specifically designed to extinguish fires involving grease fire associated with cooking equipment.

For your home, the best fire extinguisher you can buy is a multi-purpose fire extinguisher. A multipurpose fire extinguisher will work effectively against A, B, and C fires.

How many extinguishers do I need?

The National Fire Protection Association suggests that you should have one fire extinguisher for each level of your home and one extinguisher for your garage. At least one fire extinguisher should be rated 2 A:10-B:C. It is a good idea to have a larger extinguisher in your garage because flammable liquids are most likely stored and use there.

Where should I put them?

Before installing your fire extinguisher you should always read the instructions included by the manufacturer. These instructions describe the equipment and any cautions to be taken.

Fire extinguishers should mounted no higher than 5 feet off the floor in a spot that is visible and likely to be unblocked by storage. They should be located near the doorway to a room or near an exit out of the house/ apartment. Included with each extinguisher should be a hanging bracket or hook made to secure your extinguisher to the wall. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction on how best to secure it to the wall. You should always place the extinguisher on the bracket with the operating instructions facing towards you.

How do I use my fire extinguisher?

On the front of each fire extinguisher there are instructions in the proper use of fire extinguishers. To use a fire extinguisher properly, all you have to remember is P.A.S.S.

  • Pull the safety pin

  • Aim at the base of the fire.

  • Squeeze the trigger.

  • Sweep the base of the flame back and forth.

If you have a fire in your home:

  • Alert everyone that there is a fire and it’s time to get out.

  • Call the fire department.

  • Locate a fire extinguisher and get it ready before approaching the fire.

  • Stay low to the ground.

  • Use the PASS system. Don’t let the fire get between you and your way out of the room. Always keep your back to your way out of a room.

  • Empty the fire extinguisher on the fire and get out.

Fire extinguishers empty pretty quickly, anywhere from 8 seconds to 60 seconds. If the fire is not out and extinguisher is empty, don’t try to get another one. The fire probably will grow larger than what an extinguisher can handle.

Always remember, if you think your extinguisher won’t put out the fire or if the fire is too big, get out. Don’t even try.

Informational Links:

The ABC's of Portable Fire Extinguishers