- Consider having one or more working fire extinguishers in your home. There are three home fire extinguisher ratings: "A" rated extinguishers are for wood or paper fires only; "B" rated extinguishers are for flammable liquid and grease fires; and "C" rated extinguishers are for electrical fires. You can get fire extinguishers that have multiple ratings. An extinguisher rated A-B-C is recommended for home use. Smaller fire extinguishers are designed for one-time use and cannot be recharged.
- Get training from the fire department or a fire extinguisher manufacturer on how to use your fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers from various manufacturers operate in different ways. Unless you know how to use your extinguisher, you may not be able to use it effectively. There is no time to read directions during an emergency. Only adults should handle and use extinguishers.
- Install extinguishers high on the wall, near an exit and away from heat sources. Extinguishers should be easily accessible to adults trained to use them, and kept away from children's curious hands. Heat may make the contents less effective or cause the extinguisher to lose its charge more quickly.
- If you try to use a fire extinguisher on a fire and the fire does not immediately die down, drop the extinguisher and get out. Most portable extinguishers empty in 8 to 10 seconds. After some residential fires, people have been found dead with fire extinguishers near them or in their arms.
- Look at your fire extinguisher to ensure it is properly charged. Fire extinguishers will not work properly if they are not properly charged. Use the gauge or test button to check proper pressure. Follow manufacturer's instructions for replacement or recharging fire extinguishers. If the unit is low on pressure, damaged, or corroded, replace it or have it professionally serviced.