Fire Extinguishers

In line with guidance from the NFPA, we believe that children should not be trained how to operate portable fire extinguishers. Teaching children to use portable fire extinguishers runs counter to “Get Down, Get Out, Stay Out” messaging if there is a fire. Furthermore, children may not have the maturity to operate a portable fire extinguisher properly or decide whether or not a fire is small enough to be put out by the extinguisher. They may not have the physical ability to handle the extinguisher or dexterity to perform the complex actions required to put out a fire. In the process of extinguishing flames, children may not know how to respond if the fire spreads. We continue to believe that only adults who know how to operate portable fire extinguishers should use them.

There are five primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires:

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Most home improvement stores carry multipurpose fire extinguishers that cover Class A through Class C. When choosing a portable extinguisher for your home, as a general rule, it should have a rating of at least 2-A:10B, meaning that it is capable of extinguishing both Class A and B fires. Ratings that also include a ‘C’ are capable of extinguishing Class C fires. The label below gives an example of a rating on an extinguisher:

When operating a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

  • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Before trying to fight a fire, be sure that:

  • You know how to use the fire extinguisher and it is the correct type.

  • Everyone else is leaving the home and someone is calling the fire department.

  • The fire is small, confined, and not spreading.

  • You have a clear escape route.

If the fire does not go out after using one extinguisher, back out of the room and get outside. If you have portable fire extinguishers, inspect them once a month and have them serviced annually.