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Dousing Your Flaming Fears About Using Your Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

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Will you be thinking about what's in, and how to use, your fire extinguisher in the midst of an emergency? It's highly doubtful--so you'd better know ahead of time that you've bought the right kitchen fire extinguisher and how to use it properly.

Here are the kinds of fire extinguishers that you have to choose from:

  • foam
  • water
  • dry chemical
  • carbon dioxide (CO2)

Which one do you use for your kitchen? It's as easy as learning your A-B-Cs. You will want to choose a multi-purpose, dry chemical fire extinguisher that will put out everything from grease fires to electrical wiring fires. Read the extinguisher's ABC rating before you buy it. You'll find the rating label on the extinguisher. This label will show pictures identified as A, B, and C; visually showing that you can use the extinguisher on certain types of fires. If you see a number on the label, know that the higher the number, the more fires that your particular extinguisher will have the capacity to put out.

Why Dry Chemical?

Most people realize that oil and water don't mix, but they may not always realize that their extinguisher contains water. One of the most common types of kitchen fires is the grease fire on top of the stove. A water-pressurized extinguisher sprayed on a grease fire will throw the flaming grease everywhere--including on you.

Dry chemical extinguishers are filled with monoammonium phosphate, a white, odorless powder that can cause mild irritation to eyes, skin and lungs. Some will also contain sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to help smother the fire.

Most kitchen fire extinguishers are designed to fight paper, cloth, wood, rubber, oils, gasoline, grease and electrical fires. You know you have the correct kitchen extinguisher if it is red and weighs around five pounds (although industrial kitchen extinguishers can weigh up to 20 pounds and be class K silver color extinguishers). The five-pound extinguishers are light enough to grab in a hurry and wield around a fire situation.

You will need to keep your extinguisher in a cool, dry place. In an emergency, you don't want to have to hunt for your extinguisher. Keep it in plain sight so that you can grab and use it. Buy a rechargeable extinguisher or replace your older, non-rechargeable one every few years, according to its manufacturer's recommendations.

PASS: How To Use Your Kitchen Extinguisher

Using your fire extinguisher is pretty easy. Simply pull the pin, point the hose toward the fire source (not the flames), and press the trigger to release the pressurized chemical.

It's easy to remember using PASS:

P: pull the safety pin on top of the extinguisher, located at the trigger site

A: aim your extinguisher at the source of the fire from at least six feet away

S: squeeze the trigger, keeping the extinguisher upright--don't release the trigger while using the extinguisher

S: sweep the flame source--remember, NOT THE FLAMES, using the entire contents of the extinguisher.

Your fire extinguisher's label also has the directions on it. Know how to use it before you have to use it! In a fire situation where you or a loved one may feel panicked, you don't want to have to guess about any aspect of what is in or how to use your kitchen fire extinguisher. Your home--and life--may depend on it!

For more information, contact a company like 3D Fire & Safety Ltd.