Better Safe than Sorry

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

Be proactive in fire prevention methods in your home and office and make sure your family and employees are fluent in the art of putting out fires. There are five types of fire extinguishers designed to best administer to fires in different rooms of a building. The most typical of fire extinguishers are labeled A for combustibles like wood; B for liquids, oils, and diesel fuels; and C for electrical fires. Knowing and using the correct equipment to douse a fire is more now than ever because of new materials finding their way into different spaces.

"The whole industry has changed. Everything is plastic and burns hotter, quicker, and faster," says Grand Rapids Township Fire Sergeant Don Fehsenfeld.

Buy the correct type of fire extinguisher (indicated on the label), and place one near each exit of your home or office. Fire extinguishers should be used in large part to create a safe, fire-free exit, not necessarily to put out the entire fire.

To use a fire extinguisher, remember PASS: Pull the pin, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep. Spray the base of the fire to remove oxygen from the burning surface. East Grand Rapids Fire Sergeant Steve Hammond says there are four ingredients to every fire, fuel, heat, oxygen, and a chemical reaction. When even one of these ingredients is taken away, the fire will cease.

Practice using a fire extinguisher, and make sure your equipment is up to date. Fire extinguishers should be checked annually and replaced every six years. Some fire extinguishers should be disposed of annually. Check your equipment for details. As often as once a month, turn the fire extinguisher upside down to loosen the powder within.

Written by: Erika Fifelski is West Michigan Woman magazine's editorial coordinator. She was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys gardening, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses.

More stories you'll love