Family 411: Learn how to use a fire extinguisher before an emergency

While many people have fire extinguishers in their home, not everybody knows how to use it in an emergency. (WSYX/WTTE)

Most fires start small. But a fire doubles in size every thirty minutes.

While many people have fire extinguishers in their home, not everybody knows how to use it in an emergency.

At the Westerville Fire Department, they teach a citizens’ academy to create a better understanding of fires and the duties of firefighters and medics.

Dave Williams, Chief Fire Marshal for Westerville said the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 40 million Kidde Brand fire extinguishers last year that had clogging issues.

Williams said everybody should take a close look at their fire extinguisher to make sure they are in good working condition and to prevent problems. “If they have pressure on them, they are clean, look in the hose and make sure there is nothing blocking it, and if you do that you will be good to go,” said Williams. “If it has a pressure gauge, make sure it is in the green, you will see the indicator there and that is the biggest source.”

“If you could stop that fire early, there may be a little bit of smoke, maybe some minor damage, but it sure beats burning out your entire home because the fire extended,” said Williams.

Barbara Fultz had a fire in her kitchen as she made french fries for her husband. Fultz was able to use an extinguisher to put it out.

Fultz said she later took the class with firefighters and learned that the acronym PASS reminds you of how to use the device.

P, pull the pin out, A, aim at the base of the fire, S, squeeze the handle, and S, sweep side to side.

“If the fire is bigger than a trash can, get out of the house immediately,” said Fultz.

Williams said using a fire extinguisher is not always the best option.

“So if in the back of your brain it is telling you this is way too big and I should run, that is the best choice.”

“Everybody should own a fire extinguisher. And everybody should learn how to use one,” said Fultz.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan. They said every family should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

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