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Selecting and Using Fire Extinguishers For your Home

Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher, located in the kitchen. Better still is to install fire extinguishers on each level of a house and in each potentially hazardous area, including (besides the kitchen) the garage, furnace room, and company.

Choose fire extinguishers by their size, class, and rating. "Size" refers to the weight of the fire-fighting chemical, or charge, a fire extinguisher contains, and usually is about half the weight of the fire extinguisher itself. For ordinary residential use, extinguishers two and a half to five pounds in size usually are adequate; these weigh five to ten pounds.

"Class" refers to the types of fires an extinguisher can put out. Class A extinguishers are for just use on ordinary combustible materials such as wood, paper, and cloth. Generally, their charge consists of carbonated water, which is inexpensive and adequate for the task but quite dangerous if used against grease fires (the pressurized water can spread the burning grease) and electrical fires (the water stream and wetted surfaces can become electrified, delivering a possibly fatal shock). Class B extinguishers are for use on flammable drinks, including grease, oil, propane, and other chemicals. Usually their charge consists of powdered sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

Class C extinguishers are for electrical fires. Most contain dry ammonium phosphate. Some Class C extinguishers contain halon gas, but these are no longer manufactured for residential use because of halon's adverse affect on the earth's ozone layer. Halon extinguishers are recommended for use around expensive electronic gear such as computers and home theatre systems; the gas bedsheets the fire, suffocating it, and then evaporates without leaving chemical residue that can ruin the tools. Another benefit for halon is that it increases into hard-to-reach areas and around items in the way, quenching fire in places other extinguishers cannot touch.

Many fire extinguishers contain chemicals for putting out combination fires; in fact, extinguishers classed B: C and even ARC are more acquireable for home use than extinguishers designed only for individual types of fires. All-purpose ARC extinguishers usually are your best option for any household location; however, B: C extinguishers put out grease fires more effectively (their charge of sodium bicarbonate takes action with fats and cooking oil to form a wet foam that smothers the fire) and so should be the first choice in a kitchen.

"Rating" is a statistic of a fire extinguisher's effectiveness on a given type of fire. The higher the rating, the more effective the extinguisher is up against the class of fire to that your rating is given. venta de extintores Actually, the rating system is a bit more complicated: rating numbers given to a Class A extinguisher indicate the mimic gallons of water needed to match the extinguisher's capacity (for example, a 1A rating indicates that the extinguisher functions as well as about a gallon of water), while numbers given to Class B extinguishers indicate the mimic pillow video of fire that can be extinguished by an average nonprofessional user. Class C extinguishers carry no ratings.

For protection on an entire floor of a house, buy a relatively large extinguisher; for example, a model rated 3A: 40B: C. These weigh about ten pounds and cost around $50. In a kitchen, choose a 5B: C unit; these weigh about three pounds and cost around $15. For increased kitchen protection, it is probably far better to buy two small extinguishers when compared to a single larger model. Kitchen fires usually start small and are easily handled by a small extinguisher; smaller extinguishers are more manageable than larger ones, especially in kept spaces; and, because even a to a certain extent used extinguisher must be energized to prepare it for further use or replaced, having multiple small extinguishers makes better economic sense.

A 5B: C extinguisher is also a good choice for protecting a garage, where grease and oil fires are usually. For workshops, utility rooms, and similar locations, obtain IA: lOB: C extinguishers. These, too, weigh about three pounds (some weigh up to five pounds) and cost around $15. In all cases, buy only extinguishers listed by Underwriters Laboratories.

Mount fire extinguishers in plain picture on walls near doorways or other potential escape channels. Use hanging brackets made for the purpose; these attach with long screws to wall studs and let extinguishers to be instantly removed. As opposed to the plastic brackets that have many fire extinguishers, consider the brawnier maritime brackets approved by the U. S. Shore Guard. The correct hanging height for extinguishers is between four and five feet above the floor, but mount them - six feet if necessary to keep them out of the reach of young children. Do not keep fire extinguishers in closet or elsewhere out of picture; in an emergency they are often overlooked.

Buy fire extinguishers that have pressure gauges that enable you to check the condition of the charge at a glance. Inspect the gauge once per month; have an extinguisher energized where you bought it or through your local fire department whenever the gauge indicates it has lost pressure or after it has been used, even if only for a few seconds. Fire extinguishers that cannot be energized or have outlasted their rated time, which is printed on the label, must be replaced. In no case should you keep a fire extinguisher longer than several years, regardless of the manufacturer's claims. Unfortunately, re charging a smaller extinguisher often costs nearly as much as replacing it and may not restore the extinguisher to its original condition. Wasteful as it seems, it is usually far better to replace most residential fire extinguishers rather than encourage them energized. To do this, discharge the extinguisher (the contents are nontoxic) into a paper or plastic bag, and then throw out both the bag and the extinguisher in the rubbish. Aluminum extinguisher cylinders can be recycled.

Everyone in the household except young children should practice using a fire extinguisher to learn the technique in case a fire breaks out. A sensible way to do this is to spread a large page of plastic on a lawn and use it as a test area (the contents of all extinguishers will kill sod and stain pavement). To operate a fire extinguisher properly, stand or kneel six to ten feet from the fire with your back to the nearest exit. (If you cannot get within six feet of a fire because of smoke or intense heat, do not try to extinguish it; evacuate the house and call the fire department. ) Holding the extinguisher upright, pull the locking pin from the handle and aim the nozzle at the base of the flames. Then squeeze the handle and extinguish the fire by sweeping the nozzle back and forth to blanket the fire with retardant so that the flames go out. Watch for flames to rekindle, and be prepared to aerosol again.