A Guide to Buying Home Fire Extinguishers
A fire extinguisher in your Kew Gardens, NY, home could mean the difference between a cautionary tale you tell for years and a tragedy. Your fire preparedness plan should include placing an extinguisher in an easy-to-reach spot, especially in the kitchen where many home fires start.
A:B:C on the Label
All extinguishers are classified, and home devices have an A, B, or C designation. Many have a combination of the designations. The labels indicate the types of fires you can put out.
- Class A: appropriate for paper, trash, and wood
- Class B: grease and flammable liquids
- fClass C: Electrical appliances and equipment, including live electricity
Other designations are appropriate for warehouses and commercial kitchens.
Strength in the Numbers
Each letter on the label is paired with a number. For example, on a multipurpose extinguisher, you may see: 3-A:40-B:C. The numbers are assigned by the Underwriters Laboratories and describe how effective the fire extinguisher is against specific fires. A 4-A rating indicates a stronger impact against ordinary combustibles than a 3-A. It's normal for the C designation to appear without a number. The designation means that the chemicals within the canister won't conduct electricity. Keep in mind that as these numbers increase, so will the prices.
Weight and Size Matters
After choosing appropriate class designations and strengths, turn your focus to the size of the devices. A portable 2-pound extinguisher is perfect for your car and often comes with hardware to secure it in place. For a home fire, you may want to consider a 5-pound canister for the kitchen or laundry room. A larger model may be best for your garage or workshop. You may even want to consider a stove-top version that pops open to shower baking soda over fires that happen while you're cooking. Before jumping directly to the biggest device, don't forget to factor in your ability to maneuver it during an emergency.
The National Fire Protection Association experts recommend a fire extinguisher for each floor of your home. Turn to home fire remediation professionals to identify each area of the home where fires could happen, and which appropriate device will protect against a fire in your home.