In its 2016 report, the National Fire Protection Agency states that U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 358,300 home structure fires per year during 2010-2014. Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries and ties with heating as the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
If you’re ever facing a real fire, it’s always smart to call 911 and let the pros do their job. However, some quick action on your part can mean the difference between a little flame and a lot of costly damage.
Get a home fire extinguisher: They’re a must-have item, and a great way to either stop a fire before it gets out of hand or control it while you escape. But before you face a potential fire, go ahead and read the directions. Because more important than just having a fire extinguisher is actually knowing how and when to use it! Most extinguishers in your average hardware store are rated Type A: B: C, which means they’re ok to use on just about any kind of fire. But read the directions on your extinguisher, know which type it is, and know how to use it.
Know how to put out different types of house fires
- Small electrical fires – Never use water! Switch off the power to whatever started the fire, and smother it with a clean, nonflammable blanket. You can also use a Type C fire extinguisher. (Your average Type A: B: C extinguisher is ok too.)
- Small cooking fires – If a grease fire starts in your kitchen, never try to put it out with water! Calmly turn the heat off to the pan and try to cover it with a metal lid. If you can’t do that, smother the flames with baking soda (a lot of baking soda!) or use a Type A:B:C fire extinguisher.
- Small gas fires – If your home uses gas, you should know how to put out a small gas fire. Immediately shut off the gas supply. You can smother the fire with a thick rug, put it out with cool water, or use a Type B extinguisher. (Again, Type A: B: C extinguishers will work too.)
Always Remember, if you can’t quickly extinguish the flames, never leave it to chance. Get yourself and your loved ones out of the house, call the fire department, and leave it to the experts.