How to Inspect Your Home Fire Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher is something most people don’t think about until they need one. While you may be able to use a home fire extinguisher to help you put out a small fire, you may find that it’s of little value if it hasn’t been kept in operating condition. Below are some helpful tips to help make sure your fire extinguisher is in proper working order.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
Before you buy or use a fire extinguisher, you should know what types of fires it is made to handle. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) says fire extinguishers are made to combat five types of blazes:
- Class A: Ordinary materials, like cloth, wood or paper
- Class B: Flammable liquids
- Class C: Appliance, electrical
- Class D: Metals
- Class K: Cooking oils
Some fire extinguishers may be made for more than one type of fire, and they will be labeled as such: “ABC” or “BC,” for example.
Regular Fire Extinguisher Inspection
Home fire extinguishers should be checked regularly to help make sure they are ready for use, says the USFA. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends reading the instructions that came with each extinguisher so that you are familiar with their parts and how they work.
The USFA suggests including the following steps in your inspection:
1. Ensure Easy Access
Make sure the extinguisher is visible and easy to retrieve.
2. Check the Pressure
Many fire extinguishers have a pressure gauge that indicates whether the device is in the proper operating range. If yours has one, check to make sure that the gauge’s needle indicates proper pressure. If the fire extinguisher has a test indicator, press it to make sure the pressure reading is within the correct range.
3. Look for Physical Damage
Check that the can, hoses and nozzles look to be in working in order. Visible signs of damage, such as dents or rust, may mean it’s time to replace the extinguisher.
Documenting your checks on the extinguisher’s inspection tag may help you keep track of its maintenance history.
4. Clean the Extinguisher
Check the outside of each extinguisher for dust, oil or grease, and clean it as necessary.
The USFA adds that some fire extinguishes may need to be shaken monthly or pressure tested every few years. Also, keep in mind that most fire extinguishers are good for 5 to 15 years, according to BobVila.com. Check the extinguisher’s label or a paper tag for the expiration or last maintenance date. If it’s 10 or more years ago, you may want to get a new fire extinguisher.
Fire extinguishers are often an overlooked part of a home safety plan. Do your checks, know how to use them (the NFPA states that your local fire department may be able to provide additional resources) and be sure your extinguishers are ready for use — just in case.
Originally published on January 25, 2019.
– [PIANO MUSIC]
– [ALLSTATE LOGO SHOWN AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN]
– [ONSCREEN TEXT]: Inspection & Maintenance
– [MALE NARRATOR]: Inspection & Maintenance.
– [VIEW CHANGES TO A FIRE EXTINGUISHER.]
– Fire extinguishers are a crucial part of keeping your home safe.
– [VIEW CHANGES TO SHOW CLUTTER IN A ROOM AND A SIGN ON THE WALL THAT READS “FIRE EXTINGUISHER.”]
– To help ensure that your extinguishers are functioning properly, perform a simple monthly inspection.
– [A PERSON ENTERS THE SCREEN AND PICKS UP A TOOL, LOOKS AT THE MESS IN THE ROOM AND SHRUGS.]
– The U.S. Fire Administration suggests you check for: easy access in an emergency.
– [PERSON PICKS UP A FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND PUTS IT ON A TABLE BELOW THE “FIRE EXTINGUISHER” SIGN.]
– Ensure nothing is limiting your ability to reach it.
– [VIEW CHANGES TO A CLOSEUP OF A PRESSURE GAUGE ON A FIRE EXTINGUISHER.]
– The recommended pressure level.
– Many extinguishers have gauges that show when pressure is too high or too low.
– [A FINGER POINTS AT THE PRESSURE GAUGE.]
– [VIEW CHANGES TO HANDS HOLDING A FIRE EXTINGUISHER.]
– Working parts.
– Make sure the can, hoses and nozzles aren’t damaged.
– [VIEW CHANGES TO SHOW A FIRE EXTINGUISHER COVERED IN DUST AND COBWEBS.]
– Remove dust, oil or grease that has built up on the outside of the extinguisher.
– [A HAND WIPES OFF DUST FROM THE OUTSIDE OF THE EXTINGUISHER]
– Guidelines and instructions.
– [VIEW CHANGES TO TWO PEOPLE FACING EACH OTHER. THE PERSON ON THE LEFT IS HOLDING A FIRE EXTINGUISHER.]
– Some extinguishers may need to be shaken monthly.
– [PERSON ON THE LEFT HANDS THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER TO THE PERSON ON THE RIGHT.]
– Others may need to be pressure tested every few years.
– [PERSON ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SCREEN HANDS A FIRE EXTINGUISHER BACK TO THE PERSON ON THE LEFT.]
– Make sure to follow the instructions on the label.
– [THE TWO PEOPLE SHAKE HANDS, TURN AROUND AND WALK AWAY.]
– For more information about fire safety, visit www.allstate.com/blog.
– [ONSCREEN TEXT]: For more information, visit www.allstate.com/blog
– [ONSCREEN TEXT]: Information and materials provided by Kidde. This video features a few of the items to consider about fire extinguishers. Consult additional resources to learn more.
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