Security and Safety

Fire Extinguishers: What You Need to Know

By Natalie Gempel 9.12.16

Hopefully you have one in the house. Hopefully you never need it. But don’t wait until the heat is on to educate yourself about how to use it. Prepare now to keep your family safe.

Know Your ABCs

Not all extinguishers are created equal, and it’s critical to choose the right one for your home. Extinguishers with a combined A-B-C classification will combat the most fire types, making them the preferable choice for a home extinguisher. As far as size, choose a model that’s light enough to easily maneuver, but weighs at least 5 pounds.

Plan Ahead

Make a fire safety plan and share it with the whole family to cut down on chaos during emergencies. Include exit routes and designate a meeting place in case it’s necessary to evacuate. Most importantly, make sure everyone knows to call 911 after they reach safety. Sit down with your family and get everybody familiar with how to operate the fire extinguisher in case they need it.

P.A.S.S. It On

Use this handy acronym to remember the basics of fighting fires with a portable extinguisher.

  • P — Pull the pin to activate the extinguisher.
  • A — Aim at the base of the fire, or the source of the flames.
  • S — Squeeze the trigger evenly and hold it.
  • S — Sweep the extinguisher in a side-to-side motion.

Following these four steps will help you tame the flames quickly and successfully. In addition to knowing these rules, read the specific instructions on your extinguisher when you buy it and make sure your children know the basics of proper usage, too. Perhaps make it a family learning experience.

Put It Out

A portable fire extinguisher might save the day, but it has limited capabilities. Extinguishers should only be used on small or contained fires. If the fire is spreading quickly, get to safety and call 911 immediately.

Although extinguishers don’t have expiration dates, they should be replaced about every seven years if they’re not chargeable.

While fighting fires is on your mind, learn how to decorate your home with flame-resistant plants. And talk to your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent today about how a property insurance policy can help protect what you love.

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