How and Where to Install a Fire Extinguisher
the first line of defense against small fires is the fire extinguisher
While safety and evacuation should be the first thoughts in the event of a fire in the home, the first line of defense against small fires is the fire extinguisher. Just remember that fire spreads rapidly, so the first move should be to the door. But every situation is different and a fire extinguisher may be the difference between life and death for one or more members of the household. So it is important that the extinguisher is installed in an easily accessible place.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, an extinguisher should be placed near an exit so that you can safely escape should things get out of control. Furthermore, develop an escape plan in case of a fire. Choose an exit (front door, back door, etc.) that will be easiest for everyone to reach in a short time and install the fire extinguisher at that exit.
Some helpful tips:
- Always use the extinguisher with your back to the exit in order to facilitate an easy escape.
- Select a multi-purpose extinguisher that is big enough to put out a small fire but still small enough to manage. Fire extinguishers have three ratings: A, B and C. Each represents a different type of fire. Select an extinguisher that is rated for all three and tested by an independent agency.
- Know how to use it. Read and know the instructions when you install it so that you’ll know what you need to do on a moment’s notice and under high stress. Local fire departments often offer training in their use.
Installation of a fire extinguisher starts with reading the manufacturer’s instructions. Always follow these instructions. However, a typical extinguisher will come with a bracket that will support the unit. When you’ve decided where to install the extinguisher, use a stud finder or otherwise locate the stud nearest to the location. Make sure both mounting screws are penetrating into the stud. Should there be no stud or certain screws miss that stud, use wall anchors to ensure proper load bearing.
Now slide the extinguisher into its mount and it is done. If you have small children, keep it out of their reach. Installing a fire extinguisher is a simple but important process. It is a small step that can make a huge difference when the time comes.
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