In Case of a Home Fire, You’re Going to Want These 5 Things
The annual number of home fires and casualties as a result, is quite alarming. In the USA alone, an estimated 356,500 home fires were reported in 2020 with a 2,580 death toll and many more injuries resulting from these incidents.
Home fires can happen in an unexpected instant and have devastating consequences. This makes it important to know what to do to extinguish small fires as quickly as possible. In this guide, we offer a quick crash course on how to effectively handle small home fires before they get out of hand. In the case of larger fires, safety always comes first. Move outside the house, away from the fire, and call for help.
Not All Fires Are the Same
Fires can start as a result of burning candles, wood, paper, from cooking, or due to electrical sources. How you put out a fire successfully will depend on its cause or source.
Having a fire extinguisher in your home is one of the best safety measures you can take to prevent fires from spreading. Different types of fire extinguishers are, however, designed for different uses. When purchasing a fire extinguisher for your home, you need to consider what class of fire it is designed to extinguish.
Here, we’ll help you class a fire extinguisher to choose the best one for your home and provide you with four other ways to combat small flames.
5 Ways to Extinguish Home Fires
Fire extinguishers are classed from A to K according to the fire types they are suitable to extinguish. They will use either water, dry powder, foam, CO2 (carbon dioxide), wet chemicals, or a combination of these to douse fires. Most home-use fire extinguishers are class A, B, or C.
Class A is used on fires that can be extinguished with water such as burning wood, paper, cloth, and plastics. Class B is suitable for extinguishing fires from flammable liquids, gasses, oil, grease, and alcohol while Class C is used for electrical fires.
Class D and K extinguishers are more specialized and not often used for homes. They treat fires from combustible metals (magnesium, titanium, zirconium, and lithium) and combustible cooking mediums respectively.
Although the first thing many people may resort to when seeing flames that need to be extinguished is a bucket of water, this should only be used in certain cases. Water can often make fires worse, especially when electricity, cooking oil, grease, or chemical components are involved.
Ordinary fires caused by burning wood, paper, clothing, trash, or plastic can be put out with water. In these cases, grab a bucket of water and douse the flames. A wet cloth or blanket can also do the trick. Just make sure it is completely wet so it doesn’t catch fire as well.
Tip: Never use water to put out a chemical fire, an electrical fire, or a cooking fire.
Salt or baking soda
Alcohol, hand sanitizer, deodorants, cooking oil, bug spray, and other common household detergents are highly flammable. Chemical exposure to a flame can be extremely dangerous. Salt or baking soda work on both chemical and electrical fires as well as kitchen fires resulting from cooking oil.
If a small fire starts in the kitchen, grab a bag of salt or baking soda and pour it over the flames. You can also put a pan or pot lid over the fire to snuff it out.
Tip: Only use salt or baking soda and never grab other items such as flour. This will only make the problem worse. Never use water for a kitchen fire as the hot grease will explode and splatter everywhere.
Sand or dirt
If you’re outside and have easy access to dirt or sand, use this instead of water to smother a fire.
Fire blankets are made from fire-resistant material which makes them ideal for extinguishing chemical fires and kitchen fires.
Tip: Never swat at flames since this may create airflow that will exacerbate the spread of flames.
Regardless of the type of fire you encounter, always remember that your safety should be the first priority.