Are you prepared in the event of a house fire? Chances are, you have at least one fire extinguisher and you probably have never used it. If you do not have a fire extinguisher, get one! And if you already have one and are unsure how to use it, this article is for you.
Take a close look at your fire extinguisher(s). In general, the lifespan of the average fire extinguisher is between 5 and 15 years. However, most people lose track of when they originally buy their fire extinguisher and in most cases, they are left in the home when it is sold. In order to be completely sure that your fire extinguisher will function, it is imperative that you take a few minutes each month to check the pressure gauge. If you see that the needle is in the green space, it will function. If the needle is in any other position, you should immediately replace it or have it serviced.
Attempting to use an inoperable fire extinguisher in the midst of a fire is a scenario that you can easily avoid. If you own an older fire extinguisher without a gauge, have its pressure gauge checked by a professional on a regular basis. Also, be sure to have your fire extinguisher serviced once each year, regardless of whether it is a new or old model. You can find groups that service and refill fire extinguishers with a simple Google search.
When examining your fire extinguisher, look for signs of wear and tear or possible malfunction. If the nozzle or hose is ripped, cracked or impeded with any sort of debris, have it serviced or replaced right away. Take a look at the handle as well to see if it is broken or wobbly and check the locking pin. If it is unsealed or missing, have the fire extinguisher serviced or replaced. Finally, verify that the hang tag or inspection sticker is attached to the fire extinguisher. It should include a record of maintenance and checkups. If the fire extinguisher has been used in the past, do not keep it in the house. Replace it with a new fire extinguisher as soon as possible.
While there are numerous styles of fire extinguishers, they are all operated in the same manner. Be aware that the average fire extinguisher has about 10 seconds worth of extinguishing power. If it has been used in the past, it might not last for the full 10 seconds. Ideally, you will reach out to fire prevention professionals for hands-on training so that you are comfortable using a fire extinguisher in the event of an emergency. Contact your local fire department to take advantage of this service.
Use the “PASS” acronym when operating a fire extinguisher:
P -> PULL. Pull the pin located at the top of the device. Once pulled, the pin releases a locking mechanism that allows you to start spraying.
A -> AIM. Aim at the fire’s base rather than the flames. This is the most efficient way to put out a fire.
S -> SQUEEZE. Squeeze the lever slowly. Doing so releases the extinguisher’s extinguishing agent. When the handle is released the discharge stops.
S -> SIDE TO SIDE. Spray with a sweeping motion, moving the fire extinguisher left and right until the fire is out.
The best way to prepare for a fire is to have monitored smoke detectors. While a traditional, store-bought smoke detector will make loud noises when smoke is detected, BSG’s monitored smoke detectors immediately dispatch police at the first sign of smoke. If you are asleep, smoke inhalation can put you into a deeper sleep, which makes it more difficult for a traditional detector to wake you with it’s siren. If you are away from your home and a fire breaks out, often the best hope we can have is for a neighbor to see the smoke/flames and dial 911. BSG’s monitored smoke detectors work 24/7, whether the alarm system is armed or not.