Whether you’re grilling at home in the ‘burbs, living a condo lifestyle or you’re cruising the country in your RV, you need at least one fire extinguisher. But if you don’t have the right one, or you haven’t checked it recently, you may have a false sense of security rather than a fire-fighting device.
There are a few important things to know about fire extinguishers, but they aren’t complicated. Here are three things to help you get up to speed:
- There are extinguishers for each type of fire.
- Class A: ordinary combustibles, such as wood
- Class B: flammable liquids or gasses, such as gasoline or propane
- Class C: energized electrical equipment like appliances
- Class D: combustible metals
- Class K: cooking oils and greases.
An extinguisher that isn’t rated for the fire you’re trying to fight likely won’t help.
- Multi-purpose extinguishers are widely available. Typically rated for Class A, B and C fires, they are good for most living areas and also work on small grease fires. You need at least one for each level of your home, and one in the garage is a good idea, too (just in case of your grill catching fire, we’ve done that personally!). Store them in an accessible area and inspect them regularly for rust and other damage. Also follow any maintenance instructions included with the device. Some need to be shaken regularly, for example.
- Remember “P.A.S.S.” when you use your extinguisher. Pull the pin. Aim the nozzle at the fire’s base. Squeeze the lever. Sweep the nozzle back and forth. And always keep your back to an exit when fighting a fire. You need to be able to escape quickly if necessary.
Even more important than knowing how to use your fire extinguisher is knowing when not to use it. If you’d be putting yourself at risk trying to fight a fire, leave the area immediately. And while you’re thinking about fire extinguishers, you should double check or create a family fire escape plan. You never know when you may need.
Your life is irreplaceable. Your insurance, however, can help you rebuild your home and replace your belongings in case of a fire.