Choosing and Using Household Fire Extinguishers
Having a fire extinguisher isn't an adequate defense against fire. You must have the right extinguisher for the type of fire, and you must know how to use it. Remember that your first step when a fire occurs is to call the fire department and get everyone out of the house.
Four Types of Household Fire Extinguishers
- Type A - use when fire involves combustible materials such a wood, cloth, and paper.
- Type B - use on flammable liquid fires such as grease. Never use water on this type of fire.
- Type C - use on electrical fires or fires involving electrical equipment
- Type ABC - used on fires involving combustibles, grease and electrical equipment.
Using the wrong type of extinguisher may actually cause the fire to spread, so select the unit based on the environment in which it may be used. Type ABC is generally recommended for general home use. Install and maintain the unit in accordance with manufacturer's directions. Familiarize yourself with the operating guidelines suggested.
First, call the fire department and evacuate anyone from the house. You may successfully extinguish the fire if
- it is confined to a small area and is not spreading
- if you are familiar with the operating instructions
- you have the appropriate type of extinguisher.
Maintain the recommended distance from the fire, aiming the spray at the base of the fire and sweeping from side to side. Make sure you have your back to an unobstructed exit that is free of fire. Know your limitations as a firefighter and the limitations of your unit.
Have your unit recharged or replaced after every use.