If tonight’s dinner suddenly burst into flames, would you be able to put your hands on a working fire extinguisher?
While most of us probably own a fire extinguisher, we aren’t always very sensible when it comes to storing them in accessible locations. Some of us stash them in garages, while others hide them in the hall cupboards, or even in the coat closet. 55% of us however, store those fire extinguishers right next to the stove where they can’t be reached in case of a huge grease fire. According to Pemco Insurance, when a grease fire beaks out on a stove, it’s the flames that often prevents a homeowner from reaching the extinguisher and putting out the fire before it turns into something huge.
While fire extinguishers may not go with the decor of your home, the best place to install them is on a wall next to a door or an exit. These locations are highly visible, easy to find when under stress, and are close to an escape route in case the fire is too large for you to handle on your own.
Where to install
Extinguishers should be installed where they can be reached easily and quickly in case of an emergency.
There should be at least one cannister in the kitchen, although NOT near the stove. What’s generally recommended for kitchen use are small, portable extinguishers, such as a 2A 5B-C that are easy to maneuver and handle in case of a grease fire. These small units are only about 14″ high and fit nicely next to the pantry door.
Fire extinguishers should also be kept in the laundry room, the basement, near your fireplace or wood stove, upstairs or near the bedrooms, and in the garage. For hobbyists who work with electrical equipment or flammables, a small extinguisher should also be kept in the hobby room.
How to install
Our extinguishers are mounted on the walls next to the doors, using a heavy metal mounting bracket, instead of the plastic brackets that often come with a new fire extinguisher purchase. These metal brackets attach directly to the stud using long screws, and allow the canister to be quickly released.
As far as height, installing the brackets four to five feet about the floor is a comfortable height for most homeowners. If there are small children in the house, the brackets may have to be hung even higher so as to keep the canisters out of reach.
Checking the gauge on a regular basis
Every bit as important as installing fire extinguishers in sensible locations, is checking the pressure gauge on a regular once a month basis. Fire extinguishers can lose pressure over time and may need to have the pressure levels brought back up to the proper levels. This can be done at fire stations or the local hardware store. An extinguisher that lacks pressure is pretty much good for nothing and yet the folks at Pemco note that 42% of all homeowners seldom or never check their pressure gauges at all.
Installing fire extinguishers in easy-to-reach locations throughout your house and regular pressure checks are important yet easy safeguards that homeowners can take to protect their home from fires. For more information about fire extinguisher safety and how they should be used, visit the website of Fire-extinguisher101.com located here.