Fire extinguisherI just recently purchased a fire extinguisher for my home.  A fire extinguisher can be a lifesaver.  Placed in an easy to grab spot, it can put out a small fire before the firefighters arrive, or at least suppress the flames while you escape.

Every household extinguisher is labeled A, B, or C, which tells you the types of fires the extinguisher is effective against.

  • A is for combustibles like wood, paper, and cloth
  • B is for flammable liquids, such as gasoline or cooking oil
  • C is for live electricity

The main distinction among home extinguishers is size.  In most cases bigger is better, but sometimes the biggest extinguishers are too heavy to maneuver.

What size is right?

  • 10 pound:  Is best for garage or home workshop, where a fire might grow in size before being noticed
  • 5 pound:  Is best for quick grab in the kitchen or laundry room
  • 2 pound:  Is best for a car

Learn how to use an extinguisher before an emergency arises.  You can check with your fire department to see if they offer homeowner training.  Once you use an extinguisher, you should replace or refill it right away.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends an extinguisher for each floor.  But no matter how many you have the most important safety tool is a fire plan.  Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out in a hurry, where to meet outside, and how to call 911.  Even if you think you’ve put out the fire on your own, don’t cancel that emergency call.

Leave it to the pros to decide if it’s really out.