When, Why, and Where To Maintain Your Fire Extinguisher

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 05/08/24 •  6 min read

My daughter had a fire safety day at school recently and became super excited about fire trucks and our home fire safety equipment. While it sounds a bit cheesy, speaking about fire safety is really important in every home and everyone should have working smoke detectors and a working fire extinguisher on every floor. The key word is working.

Even if you haven’t used your fire extinguisher, it may be time to have it “recharged” because not doing so could spell disaster in the event of a fire.

To help, I’ve gathered some info about fire extinguishers (out of necessity, to inform myself on what I need to do), and put it all here for you as a reference.

Purchasing a Fire Extinguisher

Most fire departments seem to recommend a 2A:10BC minimum-size fire extinguisher. This extinguisher weighs about five pounds. The rating is found on the label.

The A:B:C rating means that it extinguishes all types of fires, including common combustibles like wood and paper, flammable liquids like cooking oil, and electrical.

These extinguishers will provide approximately eight to 25 seconds of extinguishing agent, and has a 12 to 20 foot extinguishing range. Extinguishers can be purchased through fire extinguisher companies or at local hardware and department stores. They range in price, and start at about $35.

In the Event of a Fire

The first priority is to start the evacuation of the home or building. If possible, contain the fire by closing a door and alert everyone there’s a fire. If you live in an apartment, pull the fire alarm. Make sure everyone starts to evacuate immediately. Send someone to call 9-1-1 to report the fire. Safety comes first-only fight a fire using a fire extinguisher if the user is comfortable doing so.

When To Use a Fire Extinguisher (And When Not To)

It bears stating that you should only use your fire extinguisher if:

Outside of these circumstances, it’s best to leave the firefighting to the firefighters.

If you do try but the fire cannot be extinguished, contain it to the room by closing doors and evacuate immediately. If there is smoke, remember to crawl low.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Once a fire extinguisher has been used, it cannot be used again unless it is serviced by a fire extinguisher company. The gauge on the extinguisher should always be in the green area. Fire extinguishers can also simply be replaced. When you purchase your extinguishers, consider the types of fittings. Many service companies will not service and recharge extinguishers with plastic fittings because they may leak after. They will service extinguishers with metal fittings.

Extinguisher Locations:

Extinguishers should be located both in the home and in the garage. Make sure they are easily accessible and will not become blocked by storage or other items. I keep mine one in my kitchen because I have a gas stove that worries me even though we’ve never had a hint of a problem before.

In a multi-family complex, fire extinguishers should be located in the common areas. For added protection, personal fire extinguishers can be placed in each unit. Also put extinguishers in motor and recreational vehicles, such as motor homes, campers, trailers and boats.

Where to Recharge a Fire Extinguisher Near You

Of course, you don’t want to have to travel to get your fire extinguisher recharged, So, where can you get it recharged locally?

A certified dealer in fire protection equipment or your neighbourhood fire department are the ideal locations to go to recharge your fire extinguisher. It will be possible to recharge your gadget at either of these sites, typically for a nominal price, ensuring that it will function when you need it most.

How to Recharge Your Extinguisher if Not Used

Examine your fire extinguishers regularly, and check to make sure the gauge is in the green area. To loosen up the powder, hold the extinguisher at an angle and hit it on the floor. Then rotate the extinguisher back and forth so the chemical moves through the vessel.

If the gauge is outside the green, it’s time to service your fire extinguisher.

Keeping Fire Safety in Check: The Final Word

n conclusion, understanding fire safety and the proper use and maintenance of fire extinguishers is crucial for every household.

Remember, a fire extinguisher is your first line of defense in a small fire. However, it’s only effective if it’s the right type, well-maintained, and you know how to use it. Regularly checking the gauge, ensuring it’s in the green, and recharging it when necessary are key steps in ensuring your extinguisher is ready when you need it. Fire safety is not just about having the right equipment but also about being prepared and informed. Stay safe, stay prepared, and let’s keep our homes and loved ones protected from fire hazards.

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.