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Fire Extinguishers

Home Fire Extinguishers


Fire extinguishers can be an important part of your home fire safety plan in conjunction with working smoke detectors and a home escape plan. Prompt use of a home extinguisher can smother a small fire before it spreads, PROVIDED IT’S USED CORRECTLY!

  • Take the time to learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher
  • Only attempt to extinguish SMALL fires
  • Even for a small fire, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY and make sure everyone leaves the house BEFORE attempting to extinguish the fire
  • Make sure you have an unobstructed escape route in case you can't put out the fire
  • If the room begins to fill with smoke to the point that you can't see or breathe, leave the home IMMEDIATELY
  • If the fire spreads to curtains, walls or other areas, leave the home IMMEDIATELY to avoid becoming trapped
  • Use the right extinguisher for the type of fire you’re trying to extinguish.

The Five Classes of Fire

To be effective portable fire extinguishers must match the fire you're fighting. There are 5 (five) classes of fires.

Extinguishers are labeled with standard letters and symbols for the classes of fires they can put out.

A red slash through any of the fire-class symbols on an extinguisher's label means you must not use the extinguisher on that class of fire.

Things you should know:

  • It is dangerous to use water on an extinguisher labeled only for Class A fires or on a fire involving flammable liquids or energized electrical equipment.
  • Extinguishers for Class D fires must match the type of metal that is burning. The metals will be listed on the label.
  • Use only extinguishers labeled for Class K fires for fighting grease/oil fires (typically kitchen fires). Multipurpose extinguishers labeled for Class A, B, and C fires are not appropriate.

Using Portable Extinguishers

Keep your back to a clear exit, stand six to eight feet away from the fire, and remember the acronym

  • Watch the fire area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the process.


  • Have the fire department inspect the fire site, even if you think you've extinguished the fire.


  • If the fire does not go out, get to a safe area.


  • Extinguishers should be installed within easy reach so they can be accessed quickly while the fire is still small, and near doors so anyone using them will have a safe escape route.

Download this guide in PDF Format

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