3 Ways To Ensure Your Fire Extinguishers Work Properly When You Need Them

Posted on: 19 July 2021

You likely keep one or more fire extinguishers inside of your home so that you or a family member can extinguish a small fire before it becomes a larger one. However, you may worry that your extinguishers will not work properly when you need them to. This is a valid concern because fire extinguishers can develop problems that lead to their malfunctioning during use or not working at all when needed. 

Thankfully, you can help ensure your fire extinguishers work properly when you do need them by following these three tips. 

1. Teach Your Family How to Use Extinguishers Properly

Some people think a fire extinguisher is broken or malfunctioning during use when they are simply using it improperly. While fire extinguishers do have usage instructions printed on stickers located on their canisters, these stickers can wear away over time, and some people misread these instructions when a household fire causes them to panic. 

For these reasons, you should teach everyone in your home how to use a fire extinguisher properly before a fire occurs. To utilize an extinguisher, you pull the extinguisher pin, aim the nozzle low at the base of the fire, squeeze the extinguisher lever slowly, and sweep the extinguisher from side to side until the fire is out. The popular acronym PASS often helps people remember how to use extinguishers properly.

2. Check Extinguisher Pressure Regularly

The dry powder located inside of a fire extinguisher is highly pressurized to help the powder dispense with ease when needed to combat a fire. For this reason, every fire extinguisher is equipped with a pressure gauge that informs the extinguisher owner of whether the extinguisher is still appropriately pressurized or not. 

Since the pressure inside of a fire extinguisher can vary somewhat, most household fire extinguishers have gauges with green zones and red zones. If the pressure gauge dial points to the green zone, then that means your extinguisher is properly charged and should function well in the event of an emergency.

However, if the gauge indicates that the pressure in the tank is higher or lower than it should be, then the tank should be recharged or repaired before anyone attempts to use it to put out a fire. 

3. Examine Device Hoses for Damage Periodically

When checking fire extinguisher pressure, also check the device's hose for damage. If there are any cracks or holes in the hose, then pressure could quickly escape through it when you attempt to use it to extinguish a fire, leading to the inability to extinguish the fire completely. Replace any fire extinguisher with a damaged hose immediately. Avoid keeping the new extinguisher in a hot, sunny area where the sun's UV rays can damage the hose over time. 

Follow these tips to help ensure your household fire extinguishers work properly in the event of a fire. You can also obtain professional fire extinguisher inspection on a regular basis to ensure your extinguishers are ready to function properly when needed. Contact a fire extinguisher safety inspection service for more information.