Internachi certified professional inspector
Fire Extinguishers in the Home
We are fortunate in Nova Scotia to have countless dedicated fire departments to protect our lives and property. While I am comfortable with the level of coverage we have in Halifax and sleep easier knowing we have a highly skilled group of professionals ready to deploy, the simple fact is that when it comes to house fires, often the fire department cannot arrive in time to save a home and contrary to popular belief, newer homes generally burn much faster due to the large number of synthetic materials used in new construction and furniture, such as oriented strand board (OSB).
There are five basic types of fires. They are:
Class A – Wood, Paper, Cloth
Class B – Gasoline, Paint, Oil, Grease
Class C – Live Electrical Equipment
Class D – Combustible Metals
Class K – Commercial Cooking Oil
Class D and K are not generally something to worry about in most homes so that leaves A, B & C.
Fortunately, extinguishers rated for all three types of fires are easy to find so there is no need to carry three different types of extinguishers. As someone who has assisted in teaching proper fire extinguisher operation and a professional home inspector, I am concerned about the general lack of fire protection in the homes I inspect, with usually no more than one extinguisher that is so old it should be replaced. Personally, I have a total of 4 ABC extinguishers at home and are located:
The single biggest takeaway from this article is to save the heroics for the movies. It only takes minutes for a fire to become fatal and if you are not able to extinguish it within seconds, it is time to flee and call for emergency help (911 works anywhere in Nova Scotia). It is important to learn the proper PASS (Pull pin, aim at the BASE of the flame, and sweep side to side) technique for fighting a fire, never turn your back to a fire, make sure you have a clear and immediate escape path and, as I learned firsthand, fires can very quickly re-ignite if not completely extinguished. Have a fire plan in place, call the fire department even if the fire is put out and no matter how silly it feels practice an escape plan regularly with your family. It has been a challenging year to say the least and I do not want to read any tragic stories about a family who lost their homes or their lives due to a lack of a fire safety plan.
If you do not have at least one fire extinguisher in your home, head to your nearest store today and pick one up.