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Fire extinguisher basics

Using the right type of fire extinguisher in the proper way can keep a small fire from becoming a destructive and dangerous one. A fire in your residence can involve any one or a combination of three things: live electricity, combustible solids, or flammable liquids.

The best fire extinguishers are rated ABC, and can handle any of these type of fire. However, some extinguishers can only douse one type of fire. For example:

Class A fires are fed by combustible solids, such as paper, wood, fabric, and most plastics. Class A extinguishers use water propelled by a gas, or can be easily pumped. Foam can also put out a Class A fire.

Class B fires burn in flammable liquids such as gasoline, grease, oil and kerosene. Foam, carbon dioxide (CO2), and dry chemical Class B extinguishers are effective against these types of fires. Never use a Class A extinguisher with a Class B fire, as water will spread the flames.

Class C fires are caused by live electricity. Use a CO2 or dry chemical extinguisher on electrical fires. Never use foam or water, because you could suffer a serious shock and/or spread the fire. With the power off, Class C fires become Class A or B.

When purchasing a fire extinguisher, it should be rated by an independent testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL, or ULC in Canada). Look closely at the label for a number that indicates the capacity of its contents. The larger the number, the greater the capacity, but also the more the extinguisher will weigh. Home fire extinguishers typically weigh from 10 to 36 pounds.

Be sure to think about how many extinguishers you will need. At minimum, buy one each for the basement, garage, and kitchen. Providing a fourth for your sleeping area is highly recommended. As soon as you get the extinguisher home, read the directions in front of your family, and recheck the extinguishers monthly to make sure they are fully charged.

Mount each fire extinguisher near a doorway, no more than five feet above the floor. Keep them as far as possible from any location in which a fire could likely break out, such as a range, wood stoveFree Articles, or fireplace.

By M Adley

Article Tags: Fire Extinguisher

Source: Free Articles from


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