Fire extinguishers good first line of defense but limited

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A fire extinguisher can be a helpful piece of safety equipment, but it’s important to know when to use them and the right one to have.

The device is making news right now because of a big recall involving Kidde extinguishers. NOTE: The fire extinguishers pictured and used in this report are not the ones being recalled.

Youngstown Fire Battalion Chief John Lightly said a fire extinguisher can be the first line of defense in a small fire, like in a wastebasket.

Fire extinguishers can be used safely. The user needs to stand six feet away with their back turned to an unblocked exit. Then, pull, aim, squeeze, sweep (PASS). Seconds count so the fire extinguisher should be close and easily accessible.

“That’s why you don’t want to dig in a drawer, cupboard or closet trying to find it. If it’s out and available, you have a much better chance of effectively fighting the fire,” said April Edwards, fire inspector with the Youngstown Fire Department.

An ABC fire extinguisher covers the three main classes of fires:

  • A – wood and paper
  • B – liquids and grease
  • C – energized electrical fires

The most important thing to do is call 911 first.

“Most cities have fire service and within minutes you can have a fire truck at hour house,” Edwards said.

The home fire extinguisher has limited capabilities, and it’s only good if someone is willing to use it. The most helpful line of defense is relying on the experts.

“Too many times the homeowner will tell us they tried to extinguish the fire on their own and then they called, or they might think that somebody else is going to call, and they find out no one else called the fire department,” Lightly said.

When in doubt, get out.

Check a fire extinguisher regularly to make sure it’s charged.

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