Do You Know How to Put Out a Small Household Fire?

When something in your house catches on fire, it can be really scary, and in most cases requires the fire department. However, a small, contained fire that can be put out in less than two minutes usually can be extinguished by an adult in the home.

Grease fires are most common in your average household, because sometimes cooking can get out of hand. If this happens to you, immediately turn off the heat, and try to smother the fire with the lid from the pan. If this isn’t possible, try smothering the flames with a damp towel. Don’t throw water on a grease fire. If you have it on hand, move the pan and smother the fire with baking soda. Salt works also, but not as well. (These last two solutions are messy, but nonetheless effective.)

If an electrical fire breaks out in your home, immediately unplug the appliance, and use a fire extinguisher to put the fire out. If you don’t have one, smother the burning electrical appliance with a heavy rug or a blanket. You must not throw water on an electrical fire because even though it’s unplugged, the residual current could give you an electrical shock.

If anyone in your home smokes, you should be concerned about mattress and upholstery fires. If something does accidentally get set on fire, you should pour water on it, and then immediately carry it outside away from your house. You should also be aware that mattresses and furniture can reignite if not completely doused in water. If it appears that you cannot control the fire, leave the house immediately and call the fire department. Since some upholstery emits lethal fumes while burning, it’s best to let the professionals handle it.

ABC fire extinguishers are acceptable tools to put out any type of fire, and everyone in a household should know how to use one, even children. Fire extinguishers also require periodic maintenance to ensure good working order when you need them!

Check your fire extinguishers twice each year to make sure of the following things: Make sure that no part of the extinguisher is starting to show signs of age, check to see if the pressure is high enough, and be certain the nozzles aren’t clogged. A fire extinguisher should be kept on every level of the house, and it should be kept in an easily accessible place. (What good is it going to do if you don’t know exactly where it is?) The best places to keep fire extinguishers are near sources where a fire could break out, like the stove or the furnace.

Proper use of a fire extinguisher is really easy: Simply stand six feet away from the flames, squeeze, and sweep the nozzle back and forth, aiming for the base of the fire. If the flames aren’t out by the time your fire extinguisher is empty, then get out of the house and call the fire department. When shopping for a fire extinguisher, remember to buy one marked with the letters ABC. These can put out any type of household fire.

For those who are wondering, class A fires are when normal, combustible materials like wood, cloth, paper, and plastic ignite. Class B fires involve flammable liquids like gasoline, alcohol, diesel oil, oil based paints, and flammable gasses. Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment. (When an appliance ignites.)

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