2018 Best Fire Extinguishers Buyers Guide
- Amerex B441 Rechargeable 10-lb Extinguisher | Read Review
- Amerex B500 Rechargeable 5-lb Extinguisher | Read Review
- Fire Gone Fire Suppressant Canisters | Read Review
- First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray | Read Review
- WilliamsRDM Stovetop Firestop Extinguisher | Read Review
- First Alert FIAFESA5 Auto Fire Extinguisher | Read Review
- Kidde 466112 Pro Multi-Purpose Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher | Read Review
Compare the Best Fire Extinguishers
How to Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher
While the specifics may vary depending on the model you own, most fire extinguishers operate the same basic way. Stand six to eight feet away from the fire and remember to PASS:
- Pull: Pull the pin at the top to break the tamper seal.
- Aim: Aim the extinguisher low, pointing the nozzle at the base of the fire. Do not aim at the flames themselves.
- Squeeze: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep: Sweep the extinguisher from side to side, continuing to aim at the base of the fire until it appears to be out.
Keep an eye on the area to make sure the fire does not reignite, and repeat the steps as necessary. If the fire grows larger than the extinguisher can handle at any time, immediately evacuate the building and call 911.
Recommended Storage and Maintenance for Fire Extinguishers
The NFPA recommends a fire extinguisher be installed on every floor of your home and that it be inspected annually. The US Department of Agriculture takes that counsel even further, recommending that homeowners install separate fire extinguishers in their kitchen, garage, basement, and car too. These should be installed in plain view, within easy reach of adults—though out of reach of children—and near an escape route.
It’s important to regularly inspect your fire extinguisher. Check your owners manual for specific recommendations for your extinguisher model, but in general, follow these guidelines for regular maintenance:
- Check pressure regularly. The needle should be in the green zone. Replace or recharge any extinguishers if the needle is in the red zone.
- Monitor for damage. Make sure the pin and tamper seal are intact. Check for dents, leaks, rust, or other signs of wear.
- Shake it. If you have a dry chemical extinguisher, many manufactures recommend shaking it monthly so the powder does not settle.
- Get it tested. Get your extinguisher pressure tested every few years by a professional, as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
- Recharge. No matter how much (or how little) was used, if you discharged an extinguisher, it needs to be recharged. Your local fire department may offer this service, or you can find a professional recharging company in your area.
- Discard. All disposable extinguishers must be discarded after use.
Fire Safety Tips
A two-story house fire can reach unmanageable size in under five minutes, so those first few seconds are critical.2 Residential extinguishers won’t quench a major fire, but they can control small ones that commonly break out in homes. If a fire starts in your home, follow these steps before you attempt to extinguish it on your own.
- Make sure everyone has left or is leaving the building.
- Have someone call 911 and notify the fire department immediately.
- Position yourself with an unobstructed exit at your back, in case you need to escape quickly.
- Examine the fire and make sure it is confined and not spreading to a larger area.
- Know how to use your fire extinguisher—there isn’t time to learn in the moment. Regularly review the instructions to stay familiar so you can act quickly when it counts.
- If the fire is too large to put out with a home fire extinguisher, your priority is to get everyone out and call 911 immediately.
- Do not attempt to extinguish a large fire on your own, no matter what extinguisher you have on hand. Remember, you are under no obligation to fight a fire yourself.
Don’t Be a Hero!
If the fire grows beyond what the extinguisher can handle, if the air becomes unsafe to breathe, or if you no longer feel comfortable fighting the fire, evacuate the area immediately.
- Easy to use
- Strong—tested up to 1,000 lbs.
- Features anti-slip rungs
- Designed for one-time use
- Doesn’t fit wider windowsills