Buying a home or know someone who is? You may want to add a fire extinguisher to your shopping list. Whether at home or at the office, they can be real lifesavers. Here are a few things you should know about this life-saving device:
It should be tested by an independent testing laboratory. While shopping for a fire extinguisher, look for FM (Factory Mutual) or UL (Underwriters Laboratory).
It can be heavy. The higher the rating number on an A or B fire extinguisher, the more fire it can extinguish. But higher-rated units are often heavier. If you’re buying a fire extinguisher, make sure you, a member of your family or co-worker, can easily hold and operate it.
It’s not as simple to use as you may think. Fire personnel nationwide say many consumers are hesitant to use a fire extinguisher. And in an emergency, many people can’t get it to work on the first try. Read the informational material that comes with your device. Consider having local fire personnel show you how or attend a training class. The acronym PASS can help you remember the basics of operation: Pull the pin to release the handle, aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger, and sweep the discharge stream at the base of the fire.
Know the limitations. Fire extinguishers are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Even against small fires, they are useful only under the right conditions, such as when a fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket; is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
For more information about fire extinguishers. Not sure when they need to be replaced? Here’s a handy guide. For more information about fire safety, check out this helpful guide.