The best way to deal with fire or smoke damage is to prevent it from happening in the first place. One of the best ways you can protect your home is by having the correct fire extinguisher readily available – and know how to properly use it.
In this article, we’re explain how to choose the right fire extinguisher and the basic instructions for using it to put out a small fire.
The 5 classes of fire extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are available in five categories based on the type of fires they’re designed to combat. The classification is clearly labeled on the canister, and some extinguishers can be rated for multiple categories, including ABC models that are common in homes and businesses.
It’s very important to use the appropriate fire extinguisher type when attempting to put out a fire, otherwise you could actually make the fire spread and the situation even more dangerous.
- Class A: Trash, wood, paper
- Class B: Liquids or grease
- Class C: Electrical
- Class D: Flammable metals
- Class K: Kitchen fires with grease or oil
Selecting the right size
Fire extinguishers also come in many different capacities and weights. Some products have numbers that indicate how much fire it’s designed to fight. For example, Class A extinguishers have a number that represents the equivalent gallons of water it holds, with each 1 on the canister equal to 1.25 gallons of water. Class B extinguishers have a rating between 1-640 that tells you how many square feet of fire it can handle.
In general, the weights of fire extinguishers can vary between 4 and 20 pounds. You should consider the ideal weight for you and your home. Having a large fire extinguisher can be useful but not if it’s too heavy that you can’t lift or operate it properly.
Using a fire extinguisher – the PASS method
Hopefully you’ll never need to use the fire extinguisher in your home. But if you do, you won’t want to waste time reading the instructions. A simple way to remember the four steps to operating a fire extinguisher is with the Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep approach, or PASS for short.
Step 1: Pull the pin at the top handle.
Step 2: Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire.
Step 3: Squeeze the handle with slow, even pressure.
Step 4: Sweep the extinguisher side to side, covering all areas of the fire.
How often to replace fire extinguisher
According to manufacturer recommendations, a fire extinguisher should work for 5 to 15 years. That’s a large range, so it’s important to also check the condition of your extinguisher to know if it needs to be replaced. If the pressure gauge is low or you notice any damage to the hose, handle, or anywhere else, it’s smart to purchase a new model.
At Hawaii Restoration Services, we recommend that everyone (homeowners and renters) have at least one fire extinguisher in the residence, if not a few of them. If you ever suffer fire or smoke damage, we’re available 24/7 to help return your home back to normal as quickly as possible. Contact us or call use at (808) 468-7978 for a free estimate.