Did you know that there are several types of fire extinguishers? Each is meant to put out different kinds of fires:
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A: For use with materials like cloth, wood and paper.
A-B-C & B-C: Multi-purpose fire extinguishers are best suited for home use. Most home-improvement stores carry fire extinguishers that cover classes A through class C.
B: For use with combustible and flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, oil and oil-based paints.
C: For use with electrical equipment, like appliances, tools or other equipment that is plugged in.
D: For use with flammable metals, like aluminum, magnesium and titanium.
K: For use with vegetable oils, animal oils and fats in cooking appliances.
When operating a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym “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.
Extinguishers are useless if you don’t take care of them or have them ready to respond in an emergency. Be sure nothing is blocking or limiting your ability to reach your extinguisher. Many extinguishers have gauges that show when pressure is too high or too low. Always check to make sure it is kept at the recommended pressure level. Ensure that all parts are working properly. Make sure the can, hoses and nozzles aren’t damaged, dented or rusted. Keep your extinguisher clean by removing any dust, oil or grease that might be on the outside. Follow the instructions exactly. Some extinguishers need to be shaken monthly while others need to be pressure tested every few years.
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This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Spring 2016 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.