(BPT) – You check your alarms regularly and practice your family escape plan – but are you overlooking an essential component of home safety? Having fire extinguishers – and knowing how to use them – is an important part of maintaining a safe home for you and your family.
‘In America, a fire starts in a residential home every 86 seconds – and the rapid protection offered by fire extinguishers can make the difference between minor or insignificant damage and greater tragedy,’ said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert, the most trusted brand in home safety. ‘However, because many Americans have never activated a traditional fire extinguisher before, many do not understand the essential role that fire extinguishers play in a home safety plan, and lack the confidence and know-how to use them properly.’
To help overcome this, follow these tips on fire extinguisher placement and usage to help ensure you and your family are properly prepared in case of emergency:
Compare features: When selecting a fire extinguisher, two of the most important features are size and intended use. Larger commercial fire extinguishers meant for public spaces may be too heavy or unwieldy for some family members. Select a home fire extinguisher that weighs 3 lbs. or less for easy handling. For home fire extinguishers, other features to look for include a metal valve and trigger, which offer the durability of a commercial grade extinguisher, as well as an easy-to-read color-coded gauge for accurate measurement. Spray times also vary by make and manufacturer, so select extinguishers that perform above the standard and feature longer spray times. Remember, a fire extinguisher that has been discharged is no longer effective, so consider rechargeable extinguishers which can be recharged by a certified professional if the unit is used.
Keep it in reach: If a fire breaks out in the living room but the extinguisher is elsewhere, you may not be able to access it before the fire grows beyond control. When seconds count, having an extinguisher nearby is crucial for rapid response. For this reason, place an extinguisher in each area of the home where a fire could potentially occur, including the kitchen, living room, each bedroom and the garage. In most cases, one extinguisher is likely not enough protection for an entire household. In addition, make sure that every responsible member of your household (including house sitters and babysitters) knows where each fire extinguisher is placed. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing fire extinguishers close to room exits so that you are able to discharge it and quickly escape if the fire cannot be controlled.
Know your ABCs: While they may all look similar, fire extinguishers have very specific ratings that indicate what kind of fire they are designed to extinguish. Extinguishers with a Class A rating are able to put out fires caused by wood, paper, trash and other common materials, while Class B rated extinguishers are intended for gasoline and flammable liquids. Class C rated extinguishers are meant for fires caused by electrical equipment, such as frayed cords. For general protection, it’s best to select a multirated extinguisher, such as the First Alert Rechargeable Home Fire Extinguisher, that’s capable of handling most types of household fires. Beyond the Rechargeable Home Fire Extinguisher, First Alert offers an entire range of extinguishers for home and commercial use.
Know how to use it: Every First Alert fire extinguisher includes instructions on proper usage, but a simple way to remember is with the acronym PASS:
* Pull the pin on the extinguisher
* Aim the nozzle low toward the base of the fire
* Squeeze the trigger
* Sweep the nozzle from side to side
Frequently repeat the acronym when practicing your family escape plan so that if a fire occurs, the response will be automatic.
Know when to go: Combating small fires with an extinguisher is one component of a fire response plan, but the primary goal should be safe escape. The first step in any scenario should be to call 911. In addition, a fire extinguisher is no substitute for having – and regularly practicing – a home fire escape plan, and ensuring that proper functioning smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed throughout the home – one on each level and in every bedroom – to provide early detection. Keep in mind that alarms and fire extinguishers aren’t designed to last forever, and must be replaced at least every 10 years.
To learn more about fire safety, visit FirstAlert.com.
* By: Maria Miller
LOWER YODER TOWNSHIP, Cambria County, Pa. — Authorities in Cambria County are investigating a house fire in Lower Yoder Township on Wednesday afternoon.
A State police fire marshal is investigating, but as of Wednesday afternoon, the fire was being called suspicious just because of where it started on the back porch, but 6 News talked with a neighbor who said she saw it being intentionally set.
“It looked like a man in front of a pillar in the back porch,” neighbor Tracy Graham said. “He had on a hoodie and then real fast walked away.”
Police, fire and EMS were called to the 600 block of Fairfield Avenue just outside of the city Wednesday afternoon after Graham called 911 reporting she had just seen someone set a fire.
6 News arrived at the home just as fire crews were pulling in, but by that time, authorities said medics with West End Ambulance had already stepped in, using a portable fire extinguisher to control most of the flames.
“That made a huge difference in the progress of the fire and acted to reset the fire and give us time to set up and apply water, so their actions certainly saved the day here,” Capt. Randall Shearman with the Lower Yoder Township Fire Department said.
Shearman couldn’t verify what neighbors reported seeing, but said the fire is suspicious, telling 6 News just a few more minutes and things could have been much worse.
“It had not penetrated into the structure yet, although the structure was just about compromised,” said Shearman. “It would have been into the structure in a few minutes.”
The woman and her seven children who live inside the home weren’t there when the fire started. Their dog was taken care of by crews on scene.
Officials expected that the family would be able to go back inside by the end of the day.
Graham said she’s just glad she happened to look out her window when she did.
“I just figured it was something walking around, meter readers,” said Graham. “I don’t want anyone burning down my house.”
A fire marshal was called in Wednesday afternoon to assess the damage and being investigating.
We’re told the inside wasn’t heavily damaged, but the fire marshal will have to clear any safety concerns before the family is allowed to go back into their home.
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