Fire extinguishers: a must-have for your home

A portable fire extinguisher can save your life and the lives of those you love by containing a fire until the fire department arrives. Check out these extinguisher basics to see how to protect your family and property.

Fire extinguishers: a must-have for your home

Extinguisher types, ratings and sizes

Fire extinguishers come in several sizes and classes. Since it is not a case of "one size fits all," be sure that you have the appropriate type of extinguisher for each location, and that you and your family members know how to operate them.

Portable fire extinguishers are labelled for the type of fire they are intended to extinguish and rated 1 or 10 for force.

  • Class A extinguishers are filled with pressurized water and quench fires involving ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and many plastics. They are rated 1 for smaller fires.
  • Class B extinguishers handle fires fueled by flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, oil-based paint, solvents and flammable gas. They are filled with powdered sodium bicarbonate or wet foam to suffocate flames. These extinguishers are rated 10 for small chemical fires.
  • Class C units are for fires involving energized electrical equipment, including wiring and appliances; they contain non-conductive dry chemicals or gas. These extinguishers are rated 10 for small electrical fires.
  • Class ABC extinguishers are multi-purpose and can be used on any kind of fire.
  • Class BC extinguishers are a go-to model for kitchen use.

Regarding size, larger is safer, but make sure you and other family members can lift the extinguisher. If you can't lift it, you won't be able to operate it effectively, which would defeat the purpose.

Location, location, location

Ensuring that you have fire extinguishers in your home is the first step, but where you place them is also crucial.

  • Keep an extinguisher on every level of your house.
  • Locate them in plain view, above the reach of children, near an escape route and away from stoves and heating appliances, where fires are most likely to begin.
  • Quick and easy access to an extinguisher is key to successfully limiting fire risk and damage.

Quick steps for monthly maintenance

To ensure your home is protected, it is important to check your extinguisher monthly. These 3 easy steps are a good place to start:

  1. Check to ensure the pressure gauge is in the green zone.
  2. Check the nozzle for obstructions.
  3. Ensure the pin is in place to avoid accidental discharge.

In addition, remember to read the maintenance manual for specifics regarding your model. You can always ask your dealer or a local fire department if you would like additional guidance.

Fire extinguishers are an important first line of defence for protecting your family and home. And there's no better time than now to ensure that you are protected!

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