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Getting the right fire extinguisher for the home

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Based on your home size, and the number of potential fire hazards, you should consider having one or more working extinguishers.

You should also choose the extinguisher type that best fits your needs. Generally, there are three common classes of home fire extinguishers:

Class A -- These are for wood and paper fires. This class cools material below its ignition temperature and soaks fibers to prevent re-ignition,

Class B -- These extinguishers suppress flammable-liquid and grease fires. They work by removing oxygen from the area sprayed and preventing vapors from reaching the ignition source.

Chemical reactions that remove oxygen suffocate a fire,

Class C -- These models are for electrical fires. They use an extinguishing agent that is not capable of conducting electricity, and

Multi-Class -- These chemical extinguishers can be used on different types of fires and are labeled with more than one letter -- A-B, B-C, or A-B-C. (Note: most multi-class extinguishers contain a corrosive agent that should be cleaned up immediately after use to prevent damage to sprayed surfaces.

Extinguisher use -- remember to P.A.S.S.:

* Pull the pin at the extinguisher top,

* Aim at the base of the fire,

* Squeeze the handle/lever to discharge (stand back 6-to-8-feet from the flame), and

* Sweep the spray back and forth at the base or source of the fire.

Home fire extinguishers along with maintained smoke detectors are important components of your home's fire defense system.