Fire extinguishers are required, by law, in all public buildings. These "active fire protection" devices can be useful in controlling small fires (and hopefully "extinguishing" them).
Fire extinguishers provide an extra line of defense for small fires and can prove to be invaluable if purchased, maintained and used properly. Purchasing the right fire extinguisher requires understanding the A, B, C class designations:
- Class "A" extinguishers should be used for flammable materials such as paper, wood and cloth
- Class "B" extinguishers should be used for flammable liquids such as cooking grease and paint solvents
- Class "C" extinguishers should be used for electronics, such as appliances, fuse box or live wiring
- Class "A-B-C" extinguishers can be used for any of the above circumstances
For household use, an "A-B-C" rated fire extinguisher is recommended, although smaller, more specific extinguishers may be placed in certain areas, such as a "B" rated unit in the kitchen. Checking that your fire extinguishers have not expired will ensure that a working unit is available in case of an emergency. Making sure the type of rating is suitable for the fire most likely to occur in that area will also ensure that you have the best tools to work with in an emergency situation.