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Although home fire escape plans and working smoke alarms are essential to fire safety, portable fire extinguishers are also effective in putting out and containing small fires. It is pivotal you not only select the appropriate fire extinguisher but also learn the best places to install one and how to properly use it.
When selecting a fire extinguisher, you should choose one that is multi-purpose and includes a label from an independent testing laboratory. The extinguisher should also be large enough to put out a fire but small/light enough to handle.
After selecting the correct fire extinguisher, we recommend you install it in plain view, close to an exit, and away from stoves and heating appliances. It is important to prepare yourself for a fire by reading the instructions that come with the extinguisher as you will not have time to read the instructions during an emergency. Many local fire departments offer trainings as well. Please note that extinguishers do require routine care.
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) instructs homeowners to remember to word “PASS” when operating an extinguisher. The recommended steps are listed below.
Pull the pin. The nozzle should be pointed away from you before you release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. The extinguisher should be pointed towards the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
If you experience the unfortunate circumstance of a fire, remember to keep your back to a clear exit in the instance the fire cannot be controlled and you have to exit the property. Be sure to leave when need be; your fire escape plan will play a key role if so.
Source: National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)
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