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How to Choose a Fire Extinguisher that Suits Your Needs

Fire extinguishers are essential to every home and property. These safety devices can save lives and prevent property damage when used properly. However, you need to be aware that there are multiple types of fire extinguishers that are appropriate for different areas in a home, as well as types of fires. Take into consideration the following information when choosing a fire extinguisher for your home or property:

  • There are 5 main types of fire extinguishers:
    • Class A is for use with ordinary burnable materials, such as wood, paper or cloth.
    • Class B is for use with flammable liquids like oil, oil-based paints, grease or gasoline.
    • Class C is for extinguishing electrical fires caused by tools or equipment that are plugged in.
    • Class D is for use with flammable metals, such as magnesium.
    • Class K extinguishers are best used for putting out fires caused by fats, vegetable or animal oils in cooking appliances.
    • Note: Class A, B and C extinguishers are commonly found in homes and businesses, whereas Class D extinguishers are often found in factories, and Class K extinguishers are most appropriate for commercial kitchens.
  • Most fire extinguishers can handle multiple types of fires and are labeled with multiple letters, such as B-C or A-B-C.
  • Many fire extinguishers also have numbers before the letters (for example, 5-A and 10-B or 40-B:C). These numbers determine the effectiveness of the extinguisher — the bigger the number, the bigger the fire it can handle.
  • There are different sizes, as well:
    • 10-pound fire extinguishers are best for areas like the garage where a fire is more difficult to notice.
    • 5-pound extinguishers are best for the kitchen or laundry room, where most home fires occur.
    • 2-pound models are best for cars and vehicles, in which fires are typically small in size.
    • Stovetop extinguishers can be mounted on the range hood. You can easily grab them when needed.

Choosing a fire extinguisher depends on where you want to use it and the type of fire that is likely to occur. For instance, choose a 5-pound Class B fire extinguisher for the kitchen. On the other hand, you can also use an A-B-C extinguisher as a general purpose fire extinguisher, although it may not be as effective as a specialized extinguisher.

Additionally, you must be very careful when attempting to put out a fire with a fire extinguisher. Tips to safely use a fire extinguisher are available here. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.

PuroClean is a leading commercial and residential restoration franchising company.  Founded in 2001, the company offers fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation and remediation, and biohazard cleanup and removal throughout the United States and Canada through its franchise network of 240 offices. Learn more. 
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