Up in Flames: Fire Extinguisher Use
Dr. John Woods 04.14.18
Few things are scarier that a fire at home or in a Bug Out camp. Fires can occur from a wide variety of sources, and none of them are good. While kitchen fires are fairly common, they can be voided using common sense safe cooking procedures with oils and other flammable materials around a hot stove. Other accidental fire sources include fireplaces, wood stoves, space heaters, clothes dryers, and electrical problems. Use care with all of these.
When a fire erupts, hopefully the notice came via smoke alarms mounted in every room of the structure. Battery operated alarms should be checked annually. Daylight savings change days are good, a birthday, or annual holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Maintain your smoke alarms as well as your carbon dioxide monitors.
However, if there is a fire, first call 911 then clear the house of all people and pets. With a plan this can be done at the same time, human life is more valuable than your stamp collection or even your prepper supplies including guns and ammo. Get out of the house to a safe distance and await for help.
If the fire is concentrated or can be controlled immediately then exercise the appropriate use of a chemical fire extinguisher, which every prepper property owner should have on hand. Know where it is stored and how it works. Then use it correctly.
Residential fire extinguishers generally mean kitchen fires or ones burning paper, wood or such items. They may not be appropriate for an electrical fire, but in any case never throw water on a fire especially an electrical or grease fire. Check the instructions on your extinguisher.
Also examine your extinguisher often to make certain the pressure is maintained. A built in gauge on the bottle will indicate green for good-to-use, or red, which means it is time to replace it. Having more than one in the house is a good idea, too.
As you prepare to battle the fire, stand away from the blaze at least 4-6 feet. Pull the handle pin on the extinguisher so the squeeze control handle can be used. Squeeze the handle, aim the spray low, pointing the nozzle at the base of the fire or burning materials, not the flames. Use a sweeping action back and forth at the fire base to put it out.
There are many fire extinguishers on the market for consumer use. Shop around for a known brand such as Kidde or First Alert. Know how it works and be prepared just in case.