Fire Extinguishers For Home Preparedness
Fire extinguishers for your home. I certainly hope that you have at least one fire extinguisher in your home for preparedness! If you’re reading this, and you don’t have one, do yourself a favor and order one right now…
Those of you who have at least one fire extinguisher, I hope that you have at least several more than that. Actually, depending on the size of your home (and any additional buildings on your property… e.g. a garage), you can hardly have too many of them. It’s relatively cheap insurance. Hopefully you never have to use one. But if a fire ever happens, you sure will be glad you had one near by!
Someone suggested the following consideration… “Especially if you live in the country and the closest fire department is a volunteer department 20 minutes away; plus how ever long it takes the volunteers to get to their trucks. By the time they would get to your place, it might be too late.” You might also consider that the fire department’s objective may mostly be to try and save surrounding structures.
Fast reaction time is crucial. A developing house fire can catch and spread very quickly. And it’s possible that you could even become trapped! You might only have moments at an attempt to extinguish a small but growing fire. So, keep fire extinguishers at various locations that are within a reasonably quick reach.
How Many Fire Extinguishers For Your Home
Fire Extinguisher in the Bedroom
Important! You really need to keep a fire extinguisher in the bedroom. Why? Because if it happens during the middle of the night, you have the opportunity to grab the fire extinguisher for your egress. You may need it on the way out! I keep a fire extinguisher in every bedroom of the house.
Every Kitchen Should Have a Fire Extinguisher
A grease fire. It happens. I wrote a specific article about it awhile ago that you might want to review:
[ Read: How To Put Out A Grease Fire ]
Fire Extinguisher in the Garage
Do you ever work on projects in the garage? I’ll bet at least once in your life one of those projects involved some unintended smoke, yes? My goodness it’s a good idea to also have a fire extinguisher in your garage!
I recently read this statement: “Speaking as a 22 year veteran of our local Fire Department AND just having had a garage fire (electrical issue with vehicle – mfr defect) I can attest to the fact you can NEVER have too many fire extinguishers.”
Other Locations For a Fire Extinguisher
- One on every level of your home somewhere
- Near the fireplace or wood stove
- In your ‘shop’
- In your vehicle
- Furnace room
- Like I said earlier, can you have too many?
Fire Extinguishers To Keep At Home
ABC. Type ABC will extinguish just about any type of typical fire. Check the label.
I did a little research for you. The best rated fire extinguisher for home use appears to be the following from First Alert:
The HOME1 Fire Extinguisher is ideal for use in any household location and is UL rated 1 A: 10 B:C for fighting wood, paper, trash, plastics, gasoline, oil, and electrical equipment fires. The commercial grade metal valve and trigger ensure it’s ready to use in an emergency. Once used, it can be recharged by a certified professional. It also includes a mounting bracket to keep the unit secure
First Alert Home1
(view on amzn)
First Alert Home1 (4 count)
Fire Extinguisher Tips
- It is important to turn your fire extinguisher upside down and tap the bottom a few times, once in awhile. This will shake down the powder/grit that sinks to the bottom. You might set them upside down for a week. Shaking and tapping the bottom occasionally (or when you check them) is a good thing.
- A fire extinguisher is like a firearm. When you need one and you don’t have one, you ”really need” one.
- Keep them near but not close to the appliance you may be using it on. For instance, in the kitchen, do not keep it directly next to the stove. If your stove is on fire chances are the flames will prevent you from reaching the extinguisher if it is right next to the stove.
- Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is a very common mistake and will not put out the fire. It is best to start about 8 feet away if possible and move closer as you are sweeping from side to side. If you are too close to the fire, the pressure from the extinguisher might blow out the flame, only to restart as soon as you stop squeezing the handle. This is because you haven’t smothered the fire’s source to put it out. Target the source fuel.
- Prevention is key. Prevent a chimney fire by cleaning your chimney At Least once a year, keep your kitchen venting system clean of grease, clean your dryer vent, and limit use of candles. Yes, the dryer lint that is great as a fire-starter in the woods is very good at starting house fires.
Conclusion: Fire Extinguishers For Home Preparedness Is Important!
I’ll bet that most of you have a fire extinguisher somewhere at home. The point I’m making is to consider having more than one. Think about the locations in your home where it may be a good idea.
The odds are that s house fire probably won’t happen to you. But, there’s no way to know for sure! It could happen. So why not be somewhat prepared?
I’m not suggesting that you become a firefighter if your home catches on fire. Safety is #1. First thoughts should include getting out of danger (and calling 911). HOWEVER, you may have a good opportunity to put out a small but growing fire if you catch it in time. Plus, a fire extinguisher in your hand on the way out of the home, can only be a good thing – just in case.
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Plan For, and Escape Smoke & Fire in Your Home
Thank you Ken for reminding me to check and possibly replace my current extinguishers. I keep mine just inside the door to our pantry as it is line of sight of the kitchen stove and range. I also keep one in the garage near the lithium battery storage and recharge location. I’ve been reading and taking note of safe storage and care of lithium batteries that are increasingly being used around my home and garden.
Work shop too for sure. One of my best friends fathers burned up in his work shop. Nice man, terrible way to go.
I’m curious what extinguisher would you recommend to put out a lithium battery fire?
Smokey the Bear, I’d recommend getting as far away from a lithium battery fire as possible as fast as possible, and keeping upwind of it as well. Lithium dioxide fumes, highly toxic, and lithium hydroxide fumes, corrosive, are produced in a fire. Fire also releases toxic gasses hydrogen fluoride and phosphoryl fluoride, as well as intense heat. The presence of water can cause an explosion. Only those with proper rated PPE, appropriate extinguishers, and relevant expertise should get anywhere near it. Water, CO2, foam, and halogen producers should never be used. Extinguishing agents are Class D, sand, Met-L-X powder, graphite, and Lith-X powder. Fire can reignite after being extinguished. [From research for an article I’m writing.]
Products not producers.
Also remember that removing the SOURCE OF IGNITION is half the battle! If you can shut off the gas or power to the device or the breaker to the room involved, DO IT! Many times just doing THAT will extinguish the fire. At VERY LEAST you’ll make the fire safer and easier to deal with.
Dry chemical extinguishers are good for putting out fires, but they make a HUGE mess! If used on electronics the extinguisher will do as much damage as the fire! Consider a C02 extinguisher for this application, or any other where you’ll need to possibly repair and use what is burning, such as a vehicle. YES, they are expensive, but may save you money in the long run.
Don’t discount the effectiveness of baking soda and buckets of sand.
You may be your first line of defense against fire in your home. Here is my best plan. Keep in mind I have a wood stove in the living room and oil fired furnace in the basement!
One ABC chemical on the hinge side of the front door, two in the basement one CO2 and one ABC chemical.
In the garage I also have a wood stove, believe me I pay strict attention to what projects I’m doing out there but after 30yrs so far so good. I have two ABC chemical extinguishers out there (twice as large as the ones in the house).
Sometimes, when needed I’ll inform the county fire control dispatcher of my intent of a “controlled burn” on my property! They always ask, what is the closest intersection to my address and they already have my phone number on the screen because they are tied into the 911 system. The thing with that is, if someone reports smoke or the actual fire they would call me or tell caller of the burn. Plus if God forbid I called for help they have a heads up on the layout of the area! Plus lucky for me I have that spring fed creek to the south and another about 400yrd to the west!
I have three of these little guys in the house. My house is small, 1102 sq. feet, so I should be well covered. If fire gets bigger than they can handle, I’m getting the hell out and letting her burn.
Alaskans, especially remote Alaskans, live in constant fear of fire. I only burn firewood that has dried 2 years. I’ll stick with the AGM batteries cause lithium batteries sound dangerous. I’ve used ABC fire extinguishers a couple times on car fires, man are they nasty. I’ve switched to liquid or CO2. I have a bunch of those little disposable ones from the big box store. They are called “Tundra,” by First Alert. They work for very small fires. My problem is, in an environment where you can remove the regulator off a propane cylinder and pour the propane out on the ground as a liquid, a truly dangerous idea, what fire extinguisher will keep pressure at those low temps? I want to keep some in vehicles. Any suggestions?
Old Alaskan – I think ABC extinguishers are charged with nitrogen which tends to hold pressure across a huge temperature range in addition to aiding suffocation of the fire. Others more familiar feel free to correct.
Looked it up, CO2 is a gas at atmospheric pressure down to 109F below zero. I’m still wondering if it has enough pressure in the cold weather? Yep, I remember something about the Ideal Gas Law, from college almost 50 years ago, but I guess I’ll just try it out.
Old Alaskan, be careful with C02 extinguishers, the C02 displaces 02 (in a confined area and you run the risk of suffocation).
A few weeks ago, my daughter and son-in-law decided to let my 9 yo granddaughter try to use a fire extinguisher they intended to put in her treehouse. It was one of the medium sized ones you can get at the hardware store. She couldn’t pull the safety pin. We got another brand of extinguisher from our supplies (Kiddie brand, I think). The girl could pull the safety, but could not operate the trigger mechanism. We all took turns and I was surprised that it took much more hand strength than I had anticipated. We pulled out a third extinguisher; an aerosol can type. That’s the style she could use effectively. We all learned a really good lesson about using a product before you actually need it in an emergency. We had to sacrifice a couple extinguishers to find one suitable for a person with smaller or weaker hands. It was worth it because we identified a flaw in our safety plans and found a solution.
Totally agree with you AZoffgrid. I once taught a fire safety course to an accounting team. I brought in spent extinguishers that were the same size/style that was found in their work area. I made everyone pick one up and act out putting out a fire (no budget to actually put out a fire with them)! Two ladies couldn’t lift an empty 20 lb ext. Three complained about the weight, but managed lift them. One participant was afraid to use the extinguisher as she had an intense fear of having to extinguish a fire. In the end, the participants had a better understanding of the equipment, it’s limitations, and their own limitations. The company changed to a smaller size extinguisher in the office areas also.
It is always important to practice using your equipment. You may not be able to test fire an extinguisher, but it is very important to know if you can lift, aim and manoeuvre it. You don’t want to be struggling with an extinguisher during an actual fire and waste precious time you could be using to escape to safety.
Consider adding water can,for ordinary combustibles , a 2 1/2 gallon pressurized water extinguisher, they’re on every fire truck for a reason , FDNY loves them , the “ can man” locates and keeps the fire in check until the engine makes the stretch .
It gives you reach far beyond and other extinguisher, allows you to crack a door and cool the room from the hallway , so many other options.
Thanks for the tip, Larry…
2.5 Gallon Water Class A Fire Extinguisher
“Fill with water to the plastic collar (to leave room for pressurized air), screw the valve yoke assembly on, and pressurize to 100psi with a standard Schrader(car tire) valve.”
I have been using these for over 30 years, as both a fire extinguisher and a cleaning tool for my rv and house siding. I store ammonia in them (which is a detergent no corrosion concerns) the longest I have had one stored with ammonia is about 5 years and the ammonia does not lose its potency. I have several and they are handy. With ammonia you have in addition a weapon that can reach out 50’ or more with a solid stream of ammonia, this a formidable weapon. I had a pack of wild dogs that were bothering my critters and a stream of ammonia convinced them they were late to be somewhere else. If you are buying one they are on ebay, make sure you get the ones with the 2” plastic nossle not the one that is a mister. Ammonia can also be used as a fire extinguisher as it not flammable.
Learned last week about best places to mount the extinguisher. In garage, accidentally knocked it off it’s holder with a 2×4 and it discharged briefly inside. It’s not toxic, but definitely stopped us from working on the project until the air cleared and we cleaned it up!
Homesteadergal, Thanks for that tip! I will re-evaluate my locations on that basis too!
Work’s as a self defense item also…
Another good reason to spend a little more on extinguishers with a metal valve/handle… those with a plastic handle cannot be refilled, at least in the states I have lived in…
– Just did a count, and we have seven of the Kidde 1A: 10 BC extinguishers scattered around the house. Also two CO2 extinguishers and one water type, the old hand pump type in the garage/workshop. Did I mention that both DW and I have, at various times used the things, in DW’s case for a macrame hanging table that caught fire from a candle, and for me twice for automobile fires. (one a cracked fuel line, the other a neighbor’s misaligned fuel filter. I have also had an employer who thought it was worthwhile to have all the employees use an extinguisher to put out a trash fire (deliberately set) out on the back lot as practice. We obviously believe in them.
I have also used a CO2 fire extinguisher to get rid of an otherwise unsalvageable hive of bees, apparently Africanized, in a brick porch column when we lived in town.
– Papa S.
– Oh, left out one in each vehicle
I used to be a member of a VFD, one summer at a crew BBQ someone forgot the ice. The beer got dumped in a couple empty coolers and one of the guys grabbed a CO2 extinguisher and hosed down the contents of each cooler, presto, cold beer! Of course the extinguisher had to be refilled, I think the Chief wrote it up as “expended in a training exercise”.