Most people know it is a good idea to have fire extinguishers for home use, but they don’t know how many they should own or where they should be located. Here are a few answers to common questions about fire extinguisher number and location.
Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher that is easily accessible. Some homes should have at three or more, depending on the number of rooms and floors. Of course, while fire extinguishers control or extinguish small fires, they aren’t appropriate for large blazes. In those situations, a homeowner’s best bet is to evacuate and call 911 immediately.
Where Should You Keep Fire Extinguishers in the Home?
If you only have one extinguisher in your home, you should make sure it is located in or nearby the kitchen. Fire extinguisher services experts agree that most home fires occur around stoves, microwaves, and other cooking equipment. Making sure that you always have quick access to a fire extinguisher while you are cooking keeps fire damage to a minimum.
In addition to the kitchen, front and rear home exits are great places for fire extinguishers. Get close to the exit, and then fight the flames as much as possible while keeping your escape assured. Placing one in the main hallway of the home helps ensure a safe exit as well. Always keep fire safety equipment for home use on each level of your home so you can spray your way out if need be.
Do Fire Extinguishers Expire?
Most fire extinguishers do not have a specified date that tells how long they can be used. The lifespan of an extinguisher depends on how well it has been cared for over the years. But with that in mind, even the best maintained fire extinguishers do not last forever. It is vital that you know when the fire extinguisher was manufactured and what the company’s recommendations are for replacing it.
In most cases, if an extinguisher has been in your home for fifteen years, it’s time to replace it. If you are unsure how old the device is, check the manufacture date found either on the label or the bottom of the extinguisher. An extinguisher less than 15 years old should be tested and even serviced.
Do Fire Extinguishers Need to Be Serviced?
The National Fire Protection Association recommends you hydro test carbon dioxide (wet chemical) extinguishers every five years. Hydrotest dry chemical extinguishers every 12 years.
But testing isn’t all you should do to keep your home safe. It’s best to have your fire extinguishers inspected every year as well. A professional fire protection company has the proper tools and training to ensure your extinguishers will function well during an emergency. The government mandates that businesses have their units checked annually. Don’t you want the same level of protection for your family? If your extinguishers pass, the professionals will provide a dated inspection tag. If they don’t pass, repair or replace them.
Taking your extinguishers to a fire safety specialist helps ensure you have a fire defense system at the ready. If you prefer a fire safety specialist to come to your home, he or she can examine your fire extinguishers and make additional fire safety recommendations, too. A thorough fire preparedness inspection brings homeowners incredible peace of mind.
More Information About Fire Extinguishers for Home Use
Always purchase an A-B-C rated fire extinguisher designed to extinguish all fire types. The exception to this is the smaller B:C units that are manufactured for kitchen use. The much smaller 5-B:C unit is inexpensive, usually $10, or less, but it can save you hundreds in replacement costs when it comes to helping you put out a small kitchen fire.
When you are buying fire extinguishers for home use, you should always purchase one that contains dry chemicals instead of water. Dry extinguishers are more effective because they smother the fire. They are also safer to use with smaller electrical fires or grease fires. Water on a grease or electrical fire will only cause the fire to get even more out of control.
Most experts suggest that homeowners use a multipurpose unit rated 3A:40-B:C. Homeowners who find this unit is too large or complex often go with the smaller 2A:10-B:C extinguisher. It not only costs less, but it is also effective at putting out small home fires.
To learn more about keeping fire extinguishers for home use in good working order, contact the experts APFE Fire Protection Services at 1-866-342-8756 or ask your question on our online form. Our licensed professionals will get back to you within 24 hours.