Posted on Jun 29, 2011 in Health & safety, Home & Living
I’m not the best cook in the world, so having a fire extinguisher on hand in the kitchen seems like it might a good idea. How do I know what’s right, and how — and when — would I use it?
So you’re the type who can burn water, huh? That’s okay, we understand you can’t eat out for every meal, so having a fire extinguisher around for those times you do manage to set something slightly on fire would be a good idea. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep them in various parts of the house where combustion may occur, like the garage and the laundry room too. Before we get too far, however, it’s time for the…
Finder’s Free Legal Team Super Happy Fun Disclaimer: I’m not a professional or a volunteer firefighter. The closest I’ve ever been to being one is wearing my dad’s turnout gear as a six-year-old. All this advice is the product of research I’ve conducted on your behalf. Drop by your local fire department and ask questions or consult the reference material I link throughout this article for more information.
One more thing, then I’ll drop some knowledge. Before you do anything else, when there is a fire in/near your home, call 911 immediately.
>> Also see: How do you use a fire extinguisher?
Let’s first discuss how fires work. It’s okay, you don’t need to dust off your old high school physics books, we’ll keep this simple. Fires need three things to start or continue burning:
This is called the fire triangle, and just like any other triangle, remove one of the three legs and the whole thing falls down. With no fuel, there is nothing to burn. Without enough heat, fires cannot begin or continue. Without sufficient oxygen, a fire cannot begin or continue. This simple illustration is the basis for how all fires are fought. For example, water helps remove heat from the triangle. Using a CO2 (carbon dioxide) extinguisher smothers the fire by replacing the oxygen around it.
Now, as you can see, there are different ways to fight a fire. Unsurprisingly, as a result, different types of fires respond better to some extinguishing techniques than others, this is why we have multiple types of fire extinguishers. So now let’s look at the different types of extinguisher, as listed by the US Fire Administration.
There are also multi-purpose extinguishers, and are labeled according to the types of fires they can be used on, such as “B-C” or “A-B-C,” and this is where we get to the heart of the matter.
For the money, peace of mind, and ease of use, I recommend a good, name brand (Kidde and First Alert are the two major ones) ABC extinguisher. Who wants to think about “hey, can I use this on the toaster?” when the toaster is actually on fire at the time? With an ABC extinguisher, you don’t have to. Personally, I have a couple of these Kidde FA110 models around my house.
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