Fire safety is a huge part of homeownership, so today I’m here with Doug Armstrong from the Scio Township Fire Department to go over fire extinguisher safety.
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Today I’m here at the Scio Township Fire Department with our expert, Doug Armstrong, to talk about fire extinguisher safety.
Where should you place a fire extinguisher?
Fire extinguishers should be placed throughout the house in areas where a fire is likely to occur or where they can be readily accessible as you’re exiting your residence. The kitchen, bedroom, hallways, and the garage near a doorway are the best spots. You want to make sure you can safely get out of the house if the fire extinguisher doesn’t take care of the problem.
Is it true that fire extinguishers have a certain lifespan of usefulness?
Fire extinguishers in department stores or office buildings usually have a metal top and get inspected every year by a fire and safety company to make sure they are still usable. Residential fire extinguishers have a plastic top and a gauge to tell you whether it’s fully charged or not. You want to check to make sure the the needle on the gauge is in the green, which means it’s in service and ready to go. The recommended life on a fire extinguisher is about 10 to 12 years, and you want to shake it once or twice a year to make sure the power inside expels when you go to use it. Once you break the seal, the propellent will leak out, and that fire extinguisher will no longer work.
You want to make sure you can safely get out of the house if the fire extinguisher doesn’t take care of the problem.
How does a fire extinguisher work?
There are actually four steps to operating a fire extinguisher, and the acronym P.A.S.S. makes those steps easy to remember.
- Pull the pin.
- Squeeze the handle. This gets the power moving.
- Sweep. Aim at the base of the fire.
Again, once you have broken the seal and used the fire extinguisher, it can’t be used again, so you might as well use the remaining contents to ensure the fire is out.
Also, make sure you dispose of the fire extinguisher properly by bringing it to a fire and safety company. Here in Scio Township, that would be Spears Fire & Safety, 287 Jackson Plaza Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Their phone number is (734-663-4133). They will recycle fire extinguishers for $6, but they will waive that charge if you purchase a new one when bringing in your old one.
We see a lot of fires where people have gone right past a fire extinguisher to exit the building, which causes a small fire to grow. That’s why it’s so important to practice using a fire extinguisher so they are comfortable with one should a fire occur.
As a residential homeowner, the best kind of fire extinguisher you can buy is one that is rated for A, B, and C type fires. The fire extinguisher should have both those letters and pictures of those types of fires on it.
If you have any questions for Doug, you can reach him at 734-665-6001.
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