Fire Extinguishers 101

Posted by on Feb 28, 2018 in , ,

Fire Extinguishers 101

Every home and business needs at least one fire extinguisher. Having one and knowing what to do with your fire extinguisher are two very different things, though. If you don’t know how to use it, a fire extinguisher won’t do you any good in a fire. And if you have the wrong kind, it won’t work when you need it most.

If all you know about fires is to stop, drop, and roll, it’s time for a quick primer on fire extinguishers.

How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher

Everyone in your home or business should know how to use a fire extinguisher. You don’t want to be stuck reading the instructions on the unit in the middle of a fire. The method is simple, and you can remember it with one word: PASS.

  • Pull the pin to unlock the fire extinguisher.
  • Aim low so the stream hits the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever or button to discharge the fire extinguisher.
  • Sweep the fire extinguisher from side to side to put out the fire.

Before attempting to put out a fire, go ahead and call for help. If the fire extinguisher doesn’t quickly put out the flames, leave and wait for help to arrive. As you work to put out the fire, keep your back between the flames and your exit so you can get away. Once the extinguisher has been used, it must be recharged or replaced. You can’t put it back on the hook and re-use it later.

 Not every fire extinguisher is the same. Having the right kind can be the difference between a small emergency and a big one. There are different classes based on how the fire began.

  • Class A: Fires caused by regular combustibles like paper, wood, cloth, plastics, rubbers, and trash.
  • Class B: Fires caused by flammable liquids like paint, tar, gasoline, grease, solvents, and oil.
  • Class C: Fires caused by electrical equipment like circuit breakers, wiring, appliances, and fuse boxes.
  • Class D: Fires caused by combustible metals like magnesium, zirconium, sodium, lithium, potassium, and titanium.
  • Class K: Fires caused by large amounts of heated grease, usually found in big kitchens.

To figure out what kind of fire extinguisher you have (or are buying) look for the class letter on the label. If you see a letter with a slash through it, that means the fire extinguisher doesn’t work on that type of fire. Most fire extinguishers used in homes and businesses are known as multipurpose extinguishers, and they’re good for three classes: A, B, and C.

Make sure everyone in your home or business knows where the fire extinguishers are and how to use them. This could be what saves lives and your property.

We hope you never have a fire, but since anything can happen, it’s important to have insurance that can help you rebuild. To make sure you have enough coverage or to get a quote on a new Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy, contact us at Ross Insurance. A fire doesn’t have to financially devastate your family or business.