The National Fire Protection Association recommends that there is a fire extinguisher not only on every floor but also near all high-risk areas, such as kitchens and fireplaces. Having them strategically placed around your home for a quick and easy grab and shoot can put out any small mishaps that have occurred, or go as far as saving your life by clearing a path for you to safely get out.
Below we break down how you can confidently choose the best fire extinguisher for all areas of your home.
The first decision you are going to want to make is what type of fire extinguisher you want. You can choose either a rechargeable extinguisher or a disposable one. The rechargeable extinguishers are made with metal valves allowing them to be filled back up and repressurized, unlike its counterpart who only has a plastic one-off valve. And even though the initial investment may be more, a refill on a rechargeable fire extinguisher is actually less than buying a new disposable one.
There are 4 classes for fire extinguishers.
Class A – designed for garbage, wood, and paper fires
Class B – designed for oil and grease fires
Class C – designed for electrical fires
*Class D – designed for combustible metal fires (not common in households)
Class A, B, and C can be made into multipurpose extinguishers. You can get A-B, B-C or A-B-C. Class ABC is the best model for your home as it will work on all fires.
In conjunction with letters, fire extinguishers also have a number rating from 1-60. As the numbers go up, so does the power of the extinguisher. But don’t go rushing out to get the highest you can find, as generally lower numbers are more common for household extinguishers.
Classes A and B also have a rating for the size of the fire that they can safely handle.
Class A’s are rated from 1-40, an equivalent of gallons to water in intervals of 1.25. For example, a Class 1A would have a 1.25 gallons power rating, Class 2A would have the 2.50 power rating and so forth.
Class B’s are rated from 1-640, equivalent to the square footage that the extinguisher is capable of handling. For example, a Class 10B could cover 10 square feet, Class 40B could cover 40 square feet, and so forth.
Class C’s do not have a size rating.
The weight of an extinguisher is a mix of the chemical insides and the container itself.
Small, around 2-pounds
- These are best for smaller areas such as your car. When you purchase one of these, look to get a mounting system to make sure that it won’t be rolling.
- We recommend the First Alert Auto
Medium, around 5-pounds
- These are the most common for around your house, especially for your laundry room or in your kitchen. For your kitchen, make sure you find a mounting system to have it near your stove. Also, keep an extinguisher on each floor of your home to ensure full coverage.
- We recommend the First Alert Rechargeable Standard Home Fire Extinguisher
Large, around 10-pounds
- If you have a workshop or garage this will be the extinguisher you want to get.
- We recommend the Buckeye
Keep in mind though that the larger the size of the extinguisher, the heavier it is going to be. While it may deliver a broader area of retardant, you will want to make sure that everyone in your home can handle the weight of the extinguisher itself.
There is a handy little acronym you can use to remember how to use any extinguisher in any situation.
P – Pull the safety pin
A – Aim at the source, not the flames.
S – Squeeze the trigger, hold it down, and don’t let it go.
S – Sweep the source and don’t stop until the extinguisher is empty or it is no longer safe for you.