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Let’s talk about fire extinguishers.

Don’t roll your eyes at me. You come right back here, sit down and talk about fire extinguishers this instant!

We’ve had some fires and a lot of lucky misses in the Village this year. We need to be prepared. Every home should have fire extinguishers that are designed for each type of fire. We in the department are in homes and at incidents almost daily and, if we do see extinguishers, they are often expired, poorly located or residents are not trained in their proper use. (Hitting the fire over the head with it doesn’t work... We’ve tried.) 

We will probably be offering some training classes in the future but, in the meantime...

Some good information follows (Respectfully cribbed from the State Farm website.) about types of extinguishers and where you can buy them but, should you want to cut to the chase, here’s an interesting offer we came across. You’d do well to buy such a set, if not from this vendor, then from another of your choice.

Costco is selling (online) a set of three rechargeable extinguishers (Includes: 1-Multi Purpose Home, 1-Garage and 1-Auto/Marine) right now for $59.99, delivery included. That’s the kind of selection you want to have as those three areas are particular environments with particular needs. That even impressed us. (I was at a fire meeting yesterday. Several of the guys said “I’m impressed.” Can’t argue with several guys.)

Here’s a link. Take a look and, as I said, consider getting it or something similar. You’ll sleep better.

Types of extinguishers and their uses

Your home should be a safe haven and to keep it safe there are some essential safety items you should have. The right fire extinguisher may save lives and help prevent damage to your home, but all fire extinguishers aren't the same. Knowing the difference between different types of fire extinguishers will help you choose the right one for your home.

There are many types of extinguishers to choose from and each has various uses. The common types of home fire extinguishers you’re likely to need include:

Class A fire extinguisher: Typically this type is used for ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, cloth and some plastics. It works by coating the fire with water or a dry chemical.

Class B fire extinguisher: This type can be used for flammable liquids such as gasoline, grease and oil.

Class C fire extinguisher: This type of extinguisher works on electrical, lightning or energized fires from live wires, panels and circuit breakers.

Class A-B-C fire extinguisher: The A-B-C extinguisher will do the work of a Class A, B or C fire extinguisher. It is the most versatile of all the home options and is usually sold at most home improvement stores.

Types of home fires

To produce a fire, there must be oxygen, heat, fuel and a chemical reaction. In a typical home fire, the fuel will either be grease or oil from the kitchen or combustible material from around the house such as cloth, paper or wood. Because of the amount of fuel a typical home has in the form of wood or paper, it's best to try and stop a fire when it's small. In 2019, fires caused almost $15 billion in damage and injured over 16,000 people.

Because home fires can have different fuels or chemical reactions, it is best to have a multipurpose fire extinguisher. You should place one in your kitchen and every level of your home and learn how to use it.

How to use a fire extinguisher

Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, is not growing and the room is not full of smoke. Since fires spread rapidly and safety is the priority, everyone should quickly exit the building and the fire department should be called immediately.

To use a fire extinguisher properly, the National Fire Protection Association recommends remembering the word PASS.

Pull the pin.

Aim low.

Squeeze the lever.

Sweep the nozzle.

Fire extinguisher maintenance

Buying a fire extinguisher is just the first step in keeping your house safe. You must periodically check your extinguishers. You should follow your specific extinguisher's maintenance schedule and also periodically check to make sure it's:

  1. Accessible,

  2. Has the recommended pressure level,

  3. In proper working order, and

  4. Clean of any dust or oil on the outside of the extinguisher.

Know when to go. 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.

Please take this message to heart and avail yourself of these critical first lines of defense and the training in how to use them. Remember, if we arrive at your house to find you beating a fire over the head with an expired extinguisher, we’re going to be disappointed.

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