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A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. It’s important to help the public understand that with proper training and education, fire extinguishers can save lives and property. Many adults might not know how or when to use fire extinguishers.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

There are five primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires (See chart). There are also multipurpose fire extinguishers that might be labeled “B-C” or “A-B-C.” Most home improvement stores carry multipurpose fire extinguishers that cover Class A through Class C.

 When Should You Use A fire Extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher can be helpful on a small fire. A checklist can help prepare to use a fire extinguisher on  a potential fire. A list should include alerting everyone in the house of a fire, someone contacting the fire department and actually knowing how to use a fire extinguisher. Next, you must evaluate the fire if you are unsure about whether or not it’s safe to use a fire extinguisher, and for all other situations, alert others, leave the building, and call 911 from a cell phone as soon as you are out of harms way.

Where should you place an extinguisher?

Place the extinguisher in a location where it has easy access in an emergency. Make sure all items are cleared from the extinguisher nothing should be blocking or limiting to reach it.

How To Use AN Extinguisher?

When operating a fire extinguisher remember the word PASS:

· Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

· Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

· Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

· Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Extinguisher Maintenance

Make sure that the pressure level is at the recommended level. Many extinguishers have gauges that show when pressure is too high or too low. A visual inspection should be done as well. Make sure to check all the working parts including the can, hoses and nozzles to make sure they are not damaged, dented, or rusted. Make sure also to check the guidelines on the can. Some extinguishers need to be shaken monthly while   others need to be pressure tested every few years.

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the #1 priority for residents is to get out safely. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have an escape plan and working smoke alarms.

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