Time: 10 Minutes
Before lighting up the BBQ and sparklers this 4th of July, make sure your fire extinguishers are in good, working order. An estimated 18,500 fires are caused by fireworks in the U.S. each year, with 25% reported on Independence Day. Brush up on how to use a fire extinguisher, and keep your home and family safe with this quick maintenance check.
Whatâ€™s in it for you?
- Fire prevention
- Property damage prevention
How to Use A Fire Extinguisher (Remember to PASS)
Pull the pin, hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the lock.
Aim low, pointing the extinguisher at the base of the fire. Stay six to eight feet away from the flames.
Squeeze the handle slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
Always maintain a safe escape route, and if you have any doubt on your ability to fight the fire, donâ€™t. Get to safety, close the door behind you, and call the fire department.
Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Check-up
- Ensure easy access. Make sure your fire extinguisher is visible, and is unobstructed for quick access in an emergency.
- Check the pull pin. Make sure the pin is fastened securely within the handle.
- Check the seals. The tamper seal and safety seal should be intact. If they are broken or missing, replace the extinguisher, or have it professionally inspected.
- Check the pressure. Many extinguishers have gauges that show when the pressure is too high or too low. The gauge should have a needle indicating when the pressure is within a proper range, usually marked in green.
- Look for physical damage. If there are signs of damage, such as corrosion, leakage, a clogged nozzle, or other age-related problems, itâ€™s time to replace the extinguisher. Make sure the hoses and nozzle are not damaged, dented, or rusted.
- Clean the extinguisher. Remove dust, oil, or grease on the outside of the unit.
- Make sure the operating instructions are visible. The instructions should be legible and facing outward. Some extinguishers will need to be shaken monthly, and others need a pressure test every few years. Always follow manufacturer recommendations.
- Make sure your fire extinguisher is fully charged, and recharge or replace as necessary. You need to have your extinguisher recharged every time you use it. Losing even a small amount of pressure or chemical extinguishant can result in faulty operation.