Portable fire extinguishers are widely regarded as the main asset house owners have when something goes horribly wrong and you need to put out the flames quickly. Although you need some understanding on how fire extinguishers actually work, operating them is pretty easy. Also, there are several types available, all intended to deal with different kinds of fire, from liquid-based fires to those caused by electronic devices. Even though some fires are small enough to be put out of by fire blankets, owning at least one fire extinguisher may put the whole family’s mind at ease.
Fire Extinguishers for Home Use
When it comes to fire extinguishers, there are three different types available for home use. The simplest version is the standard water extinguisher, which is a tank full of water sprayed out with the help of compressed air. The second type, dry chemical extinguishers, are more or less similar to fire blankets, as they are used to smother the fire, instead of removing the heat from it. That’s why the tank doesn’t contain water, but special foam, which exits the tank by compressed nitrogen.
Last but not least, we have the most professional solution, the carbon dioxide extinguisher, which unites liquids and gaseous carbon dioxide, producing the titular white jet you often see in movies. Using such an extinguisher not only removes heat, but also smothers the flames: basically, it combines the effect of the other two extinguishers. Bear in mind, however, that there is no such thing as a universal fire extinguisher. These devices are instead classified for different purposes, which is highlighted by the color of the canister, as well as a number. There are five categories in total, but by far the most famous of all is the red tank (marked with a “B”) , which is meant to battle flammable liquids and combustible, such as gas or oil. Blue tanks, marked with a “C”, are designated to be used against electronic fires, while the orange ones (marked with a “D”) are against flammable metals.
Recommended Home Fire Extinguishers
Choosing the perfect fire extinguisher isn’t an easy task: going through the different types, trying to figure out which one is good against certain fires, can indeed be a tedious process. But that’s why we are here, so let us give you three recommendations.
Amerex B500, 5lb ABC Dry Chemical Class A B C Fire Extinguisher
Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher
First Alert AF400 Tundra Fire Extinguisher
Using a Fire Extinguisher Safely
How you operate your extinguisher mostly depends on the type of extinguisher you have. Water extinguishers come with a tamper-proof pin on the handle that needs to be pulled off before you can press the handle and release a jet of water. You must aim at the base of the fire, and not the flames, otherwise you just waste the water instead of lowering the heat at the source. It’s also a good idea to slowly sweep from side to side to cover a larger area in an evenly manner. You should keep a healthy distance from the flames in order to avoid sudden flares, but you also have to stay close enough, so that the jet can still reach the base of the fire.
Carbon-dioxide extinguishers operate on a similar basis, but they still possess some key differences. Unlike their water-based counterparts, these devices are fitted with a long black cone through which the gas leaving the canister can expand and cool down, forming the well-known “white snow”. When using it, make sure to cover a large area to smother all the flames, other than that you need to do the same you would do with a water-based extinguisher.
Where to Place Your Fire Extinguisher
Deciding the location of your fire extinguisher is a crucial step in protecting your home from fires. Basically, it must be easily approachable during an emergency, but otherwise should not be in the way of your everyday life. Experts advise against putting it in a closet, as you might forget about it, and searching it takes valuable time.
Another common mistake is that house owners hide the canister behind curtains or drapes, embarrassed that guests might see the extinguisher. However, curtains can easily catch fire, making it impossible to get the device and start putting out the fire. It’s also recommended to place at least one extinguisher on every floor of your home, relatively close to a possible fire source, such as the kitchen, the garage, the living room with the fireplace etc.
A fire blanket is a special fabric coated with fire-resistant materials, which you have to lay down to cut off the oxygen supply of the fire, eventually putting the flames out. Fire blankets, such as Tonyko’s Fiberglass mat you see here, don’t leave a mess behind, plus they serve perfectly as shields with which you can wrap yourself to be protected while escaping from a burning building.
However, the blanket size limits its usage, as you are unable to put out fires bigger than the material itself. This is why they are mostly deployed against burning pans or other small-scale fire and, like fire extinguishers, must be exchanged after use. Despite the above disadvantage, it’s highly recommended to keep a fire blanket alongside a fire extinguisher, as they complement each other very well.
Fire Protection at Home
Unfortunately, fire isn’t the only hazard threatening your home. Each season holds a different danger: blizzards, floods, carbon monoxide leaking; the list is almost endless. Luckily for you, there are environmental sensors/detectors to eliminate all lurking danger. What’s even better, however, is that home security systems offer these sensors as add-ons.
Adding smoke, fire and CO detectors to your home security system is not only a cost-friendly choice, but your house will also be monitored against burglars and not just environmental hazards. When the smoke alarm is triggered, the monitoring team will send the firefighters, so you can concentrate on stopping the flames with your fire extinguisher, minimizing the threat and damage.
The Best Home Security Systems of 2018
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