fire extinguisher
Photos by: Ned Metura
Businesses and public buildings used to be the only places you saw portable fire extinguishers. Today, you'll find at least one extinguisher in 75 percent of American homes. Used at the right time, on the right fire, and in the right way, an extinguisher can limit flame and smoke damage, and can even save your home. Simply owning an extinguisher can also lower your homeowner's insurance. Extinguishers do have their limitations, however. And unless you know what to look for, it's easy to choose the wrong one. Are larger extinguishers necessarily better than smaller ones? Where should you put them, and how should you use them? Here's what you need to know. Before You Fight the Inferno
Besides learning how to use an extinguisher, according to the National Fire Protection Association, you should follow these precautions during a fire: • Always call the fire department, even if you think you've put out the fire. Fires have a sneaky way of rekindling. • Before you begin fighting the fire, make sure everyone else has left or is leaving the building. Develop and follow an evacuation plan. • Make sure the fire is confined to a small area. If not, get out. • Keep your back to an unobstructed exit. Assume a worst-case scenario — you might not put out the fire and you'll need that exit. Be sure you have one. • Don't fight a fire in a smoke-filled room. Smoke can obstruct your view — especially to an exit — and can fill your lungs with deadly gases. If the area is too smoky, get out. • Be sure the extinguisher matches the class and size of fire. An extinguisher that is not rated for the type of fire you have is ineffective at best, and can lead to disaster.
Ask TOH users about Safety & Prevention

Contribute to This Story Below