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Product safety tips

Household fire extinguishers

In addition to working smoke detectors, every household should have UL Listed fire extinguishers strategically placed in certain rooms including the kitchen, garage or workshop.

Read the instruction manual and know your extinguisher's capabilities before trying to fight a fire. Portable fire extinguishers are useful for putting out small fires, but recognize your limits and the limits of the extinguisher.

Using the wrong type of extinguisher on a fire can actually make it spread, so it is important to plan ahead when purchasing and using fire extinguishers.

Four types of household extinguishers

The manufacturer's use and care booklet provides guidance on the type and size of fire with which your extinguisher may be used. The booklet also provides tips on how to properly use and maintain your extinguisher.

Extinguisher ratingIntended use
Type AFor use on fires involving combustible materials such as wood, cloth and paper.

Type B

For use on flammable liquid fires, including kitchen grease. Never use water on this type of fire.

Type C

For use in fires involving energized electrical equipment.

Type ABC 

Works on all three types of fires listed above.

Important safety instructions

  • If a fire breaks out, your first step is to get everyone out of the house and call the fire department. If the fire is not spreading and is confined to a small area, use the appropriate type of extinguisher for the fire. Know your limits and the limits of the extinguisher.
  • Periodically inspect your extinguishers to determine if they need to be recharged or replaced. Extinguishers need to be recharged or replaced after each use even if you have not used all the extinguishing agent.
  • When using a portable extinguisher, keep your back to an unobstructed exit that is free from fire.
  • Check the manufacturer's instructions for operating guidelines, including proper distance between the extinguisher and the fire. Always aim at the base of the fire.