We recommend that all homes have fire extinguishers readily available for use in case of a fire. The most universal type is a class “ABC” as this is designed for the most common types of fires:
Class A = ordinary combustibles (paper, wood, etc)
Class B = flammable liquids
Class C = electrically charged materials.
Generally, the 5 lb size is appropriate for most homes. It should be mounted where it can be easily grabbed in the event of a fire. We suggest at least one extinguisher on each floor of your home. For garages and other locations where there is a higher level of combustible items, we recommend a 10 lb extinguisher. All newer extinguishers have the year of manufacture stamped on the bottom or printed on the label. If you cannot find a date, it’s probably quite old and in need of replacement. For commercial use, extinguishers have a life span of 6 years.
For your home, we recommend checking 3 things at lease every year:
- Check the gauge; the needle should be in the green area. If it’s not, it needs to be serviced.
- Check the pin, is there one? Is it restrained? If not, double check the gauge and use a small wire tie to keep it in the correct location.
- Check the hose. Is it free of obstructions like gum, insect nests, etc? And is it secure to the rest of the extinguisher.
We have seen extinguishers as much as 20 years old still function properly however, we recommend more frequent replacement.
Other extinguisher tips:
- To use an extinguisher, use the acronym “PASS” – Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle, Squeeze the handle, Sweep the base of the flames.
- If you’ve never had instruction on using a fire extinguisher, check out this video.
- Don’t “test” an extinguisher by removing the pin and squeezing the handle. If even a small amount of the powder gets into the valve, it will leak and the extinguisher will quickly become inoperable.
Disposing of old extinguishers:
We recommend recycling. Eco-cycle’s CHaRM (Hard to recycle materials) in Boulder does accept them for $8 per extinguisher, plus the facility fee, or suggests that you contact one of the following commercial companies: Cintas Fire Protection, Sentry Fire and Safety, or Simplex Grinnell Fire Extinguishers.