When it comes to fire threats, smoke alarms and evacuation plans are the most important for the safety of your family. However, fire extinguishers offer reassuring secondary protection. These devices serve as defense against small fires, providing homeowners with the means to potentially control flames before they escalate into catastrophic events. Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure that the extinguishers in your home always function properly. The beginning of the year is the perfect time for a fire extinguisher overview!
Know Your Extinguisher
To start, it’s important to understand the different types of fire extinguishers and their uses. The common classes are A, B, C, D, and K, each designed to combat specific types of fires. You can usually find multipurpose extinguishers at home improvement stores, which cover classes A, B, and C.
For ordinary combustibles: wood, paper, rubber, fabrics, and many plastics
For flammable liquids and gases: gasoline, oils, paint, lacquer, and tar
For fires involving live electrical equipment
For combustible metals or metal alloys
For combustible cooking media: vegetable or animal oils and fats
Keep Access Easy
Modern homes are at higher risk for quick spreading fires, due to open floor plans, modern furnishings, and lightweight building materials, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Due to this, it’s important to have easy access to your fire extinguisher. Experts recommend having at least one extinguisher on each floor of your home, within 40 feet of family members. They should never be blocked by furniture or obscured in other ways.
When to Replace
Fire extinguishers have a general shelf life of ten years before they should be replaced, but individual manufacturers may have different recommendations. Most extinguishers come with a pressure gauge which can be checked against the proper pound per square inch (PSI) range. Be sure to look for any damage or rusting; if any is found, then it’s time for a new extinguisher.