Helpful Hints

Fire Extinguishers

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

Safety Tips

Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.

To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

  • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the mechanism.
  • Aim Low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on most all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.

Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.

Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.

Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the devise so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.

Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

Time to Check Your Smoke Detector Batteries

Did you remember to check your smoke detector batteries during Daylight Savings Time change? This is an excellent time to check your smoke detector batteries! It is also an excellent time to check the age of your detectors. Did you know that the life expectancy of most smoke detectors is 10 years?

The National Fire Prevention Association recommends the following:

  • Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Larger homes may need additional smoke alarms to provide enough protection.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Install smoke alarms following manufacturer’s instructions high on a wall or ceiling.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms whey they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.

Are You Insured with Replacement Cost Coverage or Actual Cash Value (ACV)?

Replacement Cost Coverage is the amount it would take to replace or rebuild your damaged property with material of similar kind and quality without deduction for depreciation. (Depreciation is the decrease in home or property value since the time it was built or purchased because of age or wear and tear.)

Actual Cash Value is the amount which it would cost to repair or replace damaged property with material of like kind and quality less allowance for physical deterioration and depreciation.