It is officially November!
Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are still ahead, and while it might be too early for some to hear Christmas carols on the radio and in the stores, it’s NEVER to early to do some safety prep for the holiday season.
On Fridays this month we will take a look at some different safety considerations you might want to take before your celebrations begin.
For our first Holiday Prep Profile, we’re going to talk about fire extinguishers.
Why fire extinguishers? Well, according to the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA (one of our favorite sources, don’tcha know!), cooking fires peak during the holiday season. The NFPA says the most cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving, then Christmas Day, then Christmas Eve. Oh, and cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires.
So, all those statistics are certainly reason enough to consider getting a fire extinguisher for your home before the holidays AND learn how to use it properly.
First and foremost, you’re going to want to choose the right fire extinguisher. There are several classes of them, which the NFPA describes:
- Class A – this is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires on cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
- Class B – this is used on fires involving flammable liquids like gasoline, grease and oil.
- Class C – this is used for fires that involved electrical appliances and tools that are plugged in.
- Class D – this is used on flammable metals and is typically only found in factories that work with those metals.
- Class K – this is used on fires that involve oils and animal fats INSIDE cooking appliances. These are typically only found in commercial kitchens; however, they are on the market for use in homes.
The NFPA advises choosing a fire extinguisher for your home that is multi-purpose and large enough to put out a small fire, but not so large that it is difficult to handle.
The association also recommends reading all of the fire extinguisher’s directions and becoming familiar with it as soon as you buy it. This way you’ll know how to use it if you need it.
And when it comes to using it, remember the acronym PASS:
- P – Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- A – Aim Low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- S – Squeeze. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- S – Sweep. Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
The NFPA WARNS a fire extinguisher should ONLY be used if the fire is contained to a SMALL area, is NOT growing and the room is NOT filled with smoke. Otherwise, it is far too dangerous to try to put out a fire using an extinguisher and you should leave the home immediately. And, the NFPA says, you should always call the fire department.
A fire extinguisher is certainly a good tool to have in your home, particularly around the holiday season. However, it is not the be-all or end-all for fire safety. Take care of yourself and always put your safety first.