Hopefully, most of us will never have to deal with a fire in our home. But for safety’s sake, it’s important to understand how to use that fire extinguisher collecting dust. A new poll from PEMCO Insurance shows about a quarter of residents in Washington and Oregon do not have a fire extinguisher in their home, and only about half of all residents feel very confident using one.
“Fire extinguishers are an important part of overall fire safety and prevention plans – just as critical as having a home fire-escape plan and working smoke alarms,” says PEMCO Spokesperson Derek Wing. “If a small fire breaks out in your home, using a fire extinguisher within six seconds can prevent it from quickly growing out of control.”
To use a fire extinguisher, PEMCO urges all residents to remember the acronym PASS, which stands for “pull, aim, squeeze, and sweep.” First, make sure the fire extinguisher is upright, then:
Pull the pin from the handle.
Aim the nozzle low, while keeping the extinguisher upright.
Squeeze the handle to release the fire-fighting chemicals. When you can see the fire is being put out, move in toward the fire, keeping your aim at the base of the flame.
Sweep the extinguisher from side to side until the fire is out.
Experts also recommend you follow these tips to maximize your fire extinguisher’s effectiveness:
Choose the right fire extinguisher. A dry chemical ABC, size 2-A: 10-B: C is often considered the best all-around home fire extinguisher, and can fight most common household fires.
Hang fire extinguishers in the kitchen and garage, but never near the stove. If a fire breaks out there, you’ll need to grab the extinguisher from elsewhere in your home.
Replace or refill your fire extinguisher once it’s been discharged, even if you used only a little.
Be extremely cautious. If the flames are bigger than you are, it’s too big to put out with a fire extinguisher. Get out and call the fire department if the fire doesn’t diminish immediately when you hit it with the spray.
“Even the most basic understanding of fire extinguishers and how to use them can make a big difference in keeping your home and your family safe,” Wing adds. “If you don’t feel comfortable operating your fire extinguisher, or are looking for more detailed information, don’t hesitate to contact your local fire department.”
Source: PEMCO Insurance