According to FEMA, the majority of Americans don’t know how to use an extinguisher, even if they have one in their home. Fires double in size every 60 seconds. So, you don’t want to be wasting time with searching for the extinguisher and reading over the instruction manual as a small flame grows into an inferno.
To ensure the extinguisher will work properly in a time of crisis, check it periodically. Look to see if its pressure is still in the green zone, the seals haven’t been broken, the hoses are intact, and it hasn’t been damaged by things like dents, leaks, or rust.
In the event of fire, follows these steps to expel the suppressing agent:
- Pull the pin.
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Hitting the tops of the flame with the extinguisher won’t be effective. You got to smother the sucker at its base.
- Squeeze the trigger. In a controlled manner, squeeze the trigger to release the agent.
- Sweep from side to side. Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire is put out. Keep aiming at the base while you do so. Most extinguishers will give you about 10-20 seconds of discharge time.
Slowly back away. Even if the fire appears to be extinguished, don’t turn your back on it. There might be unseen hot spots or hidden fires that can ignite into a large flame at any moment. When in doubt, call 911 and rely on the expertise of your local fire department to ensure the flames are completely extinguished.
Taking precautions keeps you and your family safe from injury. A few thoughts from artofmanliness.com
At minimum, you should have one ABC extinguisher per level of your house. It’s best to have one near each of the rooms where fires are most likely to break out – the garage and especially the kitchen. Store extinguishers where your kids can’t get to them, but they’re still easy to access – you don’t want to be looking around and digging through a closet when every second is crucial. Don’t place them near stoves and heating appliances, or behind curtains and drapes – places where fires may start and quickly spread; if you can’t reach the extinguisher because the thing that’s on fire is right by it, you’re in trouble. The best location for your fire extinguisher is mounted near a door – your escape routes.
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