Tips for Storing and Using a Fire Extinguisher in Your Home

A fire extinguisher is an important safety device to have in your home. You might stop a fire from doing serious damage if you have an extinguisher and use it properly. A fire can triple in size in about a minute, so the sooner you put it out, the less damage it will do. Here are a few tips on keeping a fire extinguisher in your home and using it properly.

Accessible Storage

Make sure your extinguisher is easy to reach during an emergency. If you have a large home or multiple levels in your home, it's a good idea to have more than one extinguisher so you don't have to dash very far to grab one. Have a dedicated space for the extinguishers so they are always in the same place and won't get moved around. Hanging them from a wall hook keeps them stable and easy to reach. Just be sure to choose a location near an exit, because you should only use a fire extinguisher if there is an exit at your back. That way you can escape easily if the fire gets out of control.

Practice Beforehand

You don't want to waste time reading operational instructions when a fire is blazing. Make sure you know how to work a fire extinguisher so you can grab it and spring into action quickly. Your local fire department may offer classes on fire extinguisher use, especially in October, which is National Fire Prevention Month. If you don't take a class, be sure to read all the information printed on the extinguisher. Locate the pin you must pull and practice sweeping the canister back and forth in front of you as if you were aiming at a fire. Remember, you must smother a fire at the base. You should move the extinguisher slowly back and forth at the base of the fire rather than trying to extinguish the flames at the top.

Know When to Use an Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is intended to fight small fires, like those that arise in a wastebasket, frying pan, or couch cushion. If a fire is spreading quickly or is already large when you find it, a fire extinguisher won't do any good, and you'll put yourself at risk trying to put out the fire. First, make sure everyone in the house is alerted to the fire and is on the way out of your home. Have someone call 911 as you grab the extinguisher. Also, keep in mind, smoldering fires may not have many flames, but they may emit toxic smoke. Furniture, drapes, and other things in your home may give off toxic fumes as they burn. You could be overcome by them or by smoke itself. If you have any doubt about your ability to fight the fire, it is safer to exit your home and wait for the fire department.

Remember, a fire extinguisher has a limited amount of water, foam, or dry chemicals inside. They are ideal for small fires that can be put out in a few seconds, but they don't hold enough extinguishing agents to put out a fast-moving fire. Also, having extinguishers in your home is just one part of protecting your home from fire. You should also have smoke detectors in place and a fire escape plan that every member of your family knows how to follow. For further safety advice or to order fire extinguishers, speak with a representative from a company like 3D Fire & Safety Ltd.