BLAIRSVILLE, Ga: One of the major goals of Union County Emergency Management and Fire Department is to have a prepared and resilient community. We provide education and safety tips on how to prepare your home and how to deal with emergencies. Home fire extinguishers are a vital part of any home safety plan. They are simple to use and can be readily available to extinguish a small fire before it becomes a large one.
When purchasing a fire extinguisher, you must consider the class and size. Fire extinguishers are classified based on what materials may be burning. Class A extinguishers are used on burning ordinary materials such as paper or wood. Class B extinguishers are used on burning flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline, or oil. Class C extinguishers are used in electrically charged burning material such as electric wires or motors. A multi-purpose, class ABC fire extinguisher, is the most common and should be sufficient for most homes.
The size of extinguisher depends on the potential amount of fire. Fire extinguishers for the home range from 2 ½ lbs. to 20 lbs. The larger the extinguisher, the more fire that can be extinguished. You want to get an extinguisher big enough to put out a fire but small enough to be able to use. Most people purchase a 5–10 lb. extinguisher.
Once you have made your purchase, you need to learn how to use it. Almost anyone can use a fire extinguisher. Most people use the P.A.S.S. technique: P. Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher; A. Aim the fire extinguisher low, with the nozzle pointed at the base of the fire; S. Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent; S. Sweep the nozzle from side to side while pointed at the base of the fire until it is extinguished. It is best to familiarize yourself with the use and practice often.
Fire extinguishers should be stored near areas of potential fires, such as kitchens, fireplaces, or garages. However, do not store them so near the potential fire areas that the fire or smoke prevents access to them. They should also be inspected periodically to ensure they are ready to use.
Having fire extinguishers in your home is an especially important part of an overall safety plan. They are simple to use, remarkably effective and can extinguish small fires before they become larger, out of control fires.