Household fire extinguishers are an important tool for protecting your home from small, incidental fires. In fact, it's recommended that you have at least one fire extinguisher on each floor of the house, and it's a good idea to have an extra one in the kitchen. However, fire extinguishers are only helpful when you have the right type for the situation and the size of the fire. If you're new to home ownership and have never purchased a fire extinguisher before, you might not understand exactly what you should be looking for. Sometimes, it's best to invest in multiple units based on the specific types of fires they address.
Knowing Your ABC's
When it comes to household fire extinguishers, there are three letter codes that designate what type of fire the extinguisher's contents will be effective against.
A Class A unit is designed for most standard materials such as wood, cloth or paper. It's good to have on hand near the fireplace or wood stove, and is usually the standard unit for most small household fires.
A Class B unit works for fires caused by flammable liquids. Whether it's oil, gasoline or grease, this is the fire extinguisher you'll want. It's good to have one of these in the kitchen and one in the garage or workshop, because those are the areas most likely to experience fires from these sources. If you have an oil tank in the basement, put one there, too.
A Class C unit is created for electrical fires like those caused by appliances, power tools or similar items. Put one of these in the kitchen in case of an electrical appliance fire, in the workshop or garage and even in your home office.
When you work with a fire extinguisher supplier, you can even find combination units that allow you to address multiple types of fires with one extinguisher. For example there are some extinguishers labeled as "ABC" units, and these are multi-purpose extinguishers for all of the areas of your home.
Understanding Weights And Measures
Fire extinguishers come in a variety of sizes. When you read the label to see what type of fire it's designed for, you should also look at the weight rating. It'll appear as a number that precedes the letter code.
A two-pound fire extinguisher is designed for very small fires. This size is typically best for things like your car. You can find them in many designs, including those with brackets to mount securely in the trunk.
A five-pound fire extinguisher is good for moderate fires, like ones you might encounter in the kitchen. Keep a rechargeable five-pound unit just inside your kitchen door or near the cooking range to deal with emergencies.
A ten-pound fire extinguisher is larger and works on much larger fires. The extinguisher you place in your garage, workshop or basement should be a ten-pound unit, because a fire could grow quickly before you find it in an area like that.
Understanding these key factors about fire extinguishers will help you to choose the best ones for your home. Talk with a local specialist about evaluating your home to identify the weaker areas and potential threats. For more information, contact companies like Tri County Fire Protection.