Fire isn’t anything to play around with. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an unwanted fire takes place every 10 seconds. Each year in the United States, more than 2,500 people die while another 13,000 are injured in home fires.
No matter what your current living situation is, you should always be brushed up on your fire safety skills. This includes becoming more familiar with the fire extinguisher that’s been sitting under your sink since before you can remember. Here are 7 tips to help you stay safe in your home should a fire break out:
Act Quickly – Most fires start out small. If the fire is contained – for example, in a trashcan – you can try using a fire extinguisher to put it out. You will have to act quickly, though. A fire that burns for only 1 minute will triple in size and will become much more dangerous.
Get Everyone Out – First thing’s first, make sure everyone is out of the building and call the fire department before you pull out that fire extinguisher. Make sure that the fire isn’t between you and your only escape route, and steer clear of smoke.
Handle With Care – Before a fire occurs, try holding your fire extinguisher and ensure that you are physically able to handle it. Sometimes they can be quite heavy and should be handled by someone who is stronger since handling them and holding them at the same time can be really difficult.
Know How It Works – There will be no time for you to read the instructions when a fire is on the premises. Just remember PASS – Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep. You will need to pull the pin or unlock the latch, aim low (at the base of the fire), squeeze the handle, and sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the fire. Watch the fire in case it comes back, and use the extinguisher again if necessary.
All Extinguishers Are Not Made Equally – There are actually 5 different types of extinguishers, each made for handling different sorts of fire. Class A is used for fires that contain ordinary combustibles like paper, cloth, and wood; Class B is used on fires containing flammable liquids like oil and gas, and Class C is used for fire involving electrical equipment. Classes D and K are typically found in factories and commercial restaurants, respectively. Your best bet is to purchase an A-B-C extinguisher, which contains a dry chemical that can be used on many types of fire.
Keep It Close By – Make sure that you store your fire extinguisher in an easily accessible area in your home and that it isn’t blocked by anything that would get in your way of grabbing it quickly. Tell all the members of your family where the fire extinguisher is located as well.
When In Doubt, Just Get Out – If you’re not too confident in using the fire extinguisher, don’t deliberate. Just get out, stay out, and call the authorities. The professionals will be sure to take care of it. Additionally, if your means of escape becomes compromised at any time, get out of the house as quickly as you can.
Fire extinguishers are incredibly handy to have around the home, but it can only do so much to protect you, your loved ones, and your home from damage. Make sure that your home is protected with the right home insurance policy, too! Call your agent here at Madison Mutual Insurance Company at 1-800-766-MMIC to get started today.