Fire Extinguisher Safety

Fire extinguisher safety tips by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

Think fast: where do you keep your home’s fire extinguishers? We’re hoping you’re imagining that ultra-handy, life-saving device, stowed away under the kitchen sink (or at least somewhere in your home). I think you know what we’re getting at here, right? If you don’t have fire extinguishers in your home, you need them, and you need them now! With various sizes available, and prices starting at only $15, there’s no excuse for not having at least one in your home. You also will want to know fire extinguisher safety once you have bought one.

Purchasing a Fire Extinguisher | The Basics

If you’re still reading, it’s safe to say that you’re looking to purchase a fire extinguisher, and you’re also looking for our help. Use the steps below as a guide, and you’ll be good to go.

How many fire extinguishers will you need? The National Fire Protection Association recommends keeping at least one fire extinguisher in the kitchen and one in the garage. Following the same logic of smoke alarms and CO detectors, you should also store an easily accessible fire extinguisher on every level of your home. Why? Consider this: if an electrical fire occurs upstairs, there’s no time to run downstairs to retrieve the fire extinguisher you have stored under your kitchen sink. Remember: planning ahead for little emergencies like these keeps them from turning into disasters.

Now that you have an exact count of how many fire extinguishers you’ll need, it’s time to shop. Head to your local hardware or home improvement store, and check out their fire safety sections.

More Fire Extinguisher Info

If you’ve never purchased a fire extinguisher before, you probably have several questions, and want to learn everything you can about the purchasing process. For even more details, read this: A Quick Guide to Buying a Fire Extinguisher.

Fire Extinguisher Inspections

Now that you’ve purchased your fire extinguishers, it’s time to educate yourself on the next phase of the process: inspections.

  • Just like smoke and CO detectors, fire extinguishers also require regular testing and inspections. should be inspected once a year. During each inspection, take a look at the pressure gauge; green gauges are a go, any other color is a no! If you’re looking at anything other than a green gauge, it’s time to replace it.
  • As you’re inspecting the gauge level, take a look at the expiration date. Typically, fire extinguishers last for anywhere from five to 15 years. Keep in mind: if your fire extinguisher passes the gauge test, but is expired, it’s still time to replace.
  • Under no circumstance is a fire extinguisher good for more than one use – even if it was used slightly or accidentally. Even short blasts break the seal, causing the fire-eliminating chemicals to leak and deactivate.

Reasons for Replacing Your Fire Extinguisher

Aside from a failed gauge test, previous use, or a lapsed expiration date, there are a few additional reasons you should replace your fire extinguisher, including:

  • A Loose or Broken Handle
  • Splits, Cracks, or Rips in the Hose or Nozzle
  • Missing, Loose, or Damaged Safety Pin
  • Tank Corrosion & Dents