How to Property Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher
Home Safety: How to Inspect a Fire Extinguisher
When was the last time you took time to check the fire extinguisher that sits under your kitchen sink? Or the one hanging from a dusty hook in your garage? If you’re struggling to remember, it’s time to check it. Like any other piece of safety equipment, a home fire extinguisher should be inspected regularly to ensure it’s in proper working condition. A fire extinguisher in good working condition is your first line of defense when a home fire erupts.
Ideally, you should inspect your portable home fire extinguishers every month.
Tips for Performing a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Check
Check the label or tag.
Every fire extinguisher, whether disposable or rechargeable, has a manufacturer’s label or tag. Read the tag and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance suggestions.
Check the tamper seal.
If the tamper seal has been broken or is cracked, a disposable fire extinguisher needs to be replaced. If it’s rechargeable, it needs to be serviced professionally. Check the locking or pull pin as well to make sure it’s in the correct position. If the pin missing, the fire extinguisher needs to be inspected or serviced by a professional.
Inspect for physical damage.
Physically inspect the fire extinguisher for obvious damage. This may include but is not limited to dents, corrosion, cracks and obvious leakage. If a fire extinguisher has leakage, it’s no longer under full pressure and may not work properly when you need it most. Check the fire extinguisher nozzle as well, to ensure it’s not clogged by grime, dust, bugs or leakage from the unit itself.
Check the pressure gauge.
Check that the pressure gauge needle indicates the fire extinguisher pressure is in the optimum operating range. Often the correct pressure range will be designated by green on the gauge.
Is the fire extinguisher full?
During your monthly check, lift the fire extinguisher and determine if it still feels full. If there has been a leak, it will feel light, and it won’t have the right amount of pressure to work correctly.
If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, it should be shaken once a month during your inspection. This helps prevent the chemical dousing agent from solidifying at the bottom of the unit.
Write inspection date on tag.
Keep track of every inspection date by writing it on the fire extinguisher tag.
Ensure easy access to your fire extinguisher.
Fire extinguishers should always be easy to access if there is an emergency. You don’t want to have to search for it once a fire breaks out. Don’t block fire extinguishers with furniture, boxes or any other items. Everyone who lives in the household should know where the closest fire extinguisher is located and how to use it in case of an emergency.
In the event of a fire emergency, first make sure to get people safely away, then call 911. A home fire extinguisher can be used to put out or control small fires, but it’s still safest to call professional fire fighters before you attempt to control a fire on your own. If you need professional fire, smoke and water damage cleanup and remediation after a fire, call the experts at SERVPRO of Oak Park-River Forest.
Prevent a Clothes Dryer Fire
The following are ways to prevent a clothes dryer fire in your home:
- Inspect your outdoor vent. Check to make sure that your outdoor vent flap is not covered by snow or debris.
- Do not dry items that have been stained with volatile chemicals. Wash clothing stained with flammable chemicals more than once and do not use the dryer to dry these items, opting for a clothes line dryer.
- Don’t leave your dryer unattended. If you need to leave your home, turn off the dryer during the laundry cycle.
- Install with care. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the vent pipe. Use a short, straight pipe that is an adequate distance from the wall. Reducing the bends in the dryer vent pipe creates fewer opportunities for lint to gather. Invest in a dryer vent fan if you have to vent your dryer over a long distance. Dryer vent fans increase the airflow through the duct every time you turn on your dryer forcing debris out.
- Remove combustibles. Cleaning supplies and other flammable liquids should not be kept near the dryer. In addition, sweep out dust in the areas around and underneath your dryer regularly.
- Use a metal dryer duct. Metal ducts are better than foil or plastic ducts for two key reasons. First, unlike foil or plastic ducts, metal ducts do not sag. This is important because sagging ducts contributes to lint build up at low points. Second, metal ducts are more likely to contain any fires that would start.
- Read clothing tags and labels. Always use caution when you are drying bath mats, padded bras, and bibs because they may contain rubber that should not be exposed to hot temperatures. Also, if the label instructs you to tumble dry an item, follow the advice and do not dry at hotter temperatures.
- After each dryer use, check your clothes. If your clothes do not feel dry or are extra hot after a normal drying cycle, then this may indicate that something is wrong. Before using the dryer again, check for a plugged vent and clean out any lint.
- Clean out the lint. Clean out the lint trap after each use and once a year hire a professional to clean out the vent pipes.
Home Fire Safety
Have an escape plan.
The American Red Cross states that you may have as little as two minutes to escape a home fire. During a fire, early warnings from a working smoke alarms and a prepared fire escape plan can save your and your families lives.
Top Tips for Fire Safety
*Install smoke alarms on every level in your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
*Test smoke alarms every month. Make sure to change the batteries if they are not working.
*Make a fire escape plan with your family and practice it.
*If a fire occurs in your home, get out of the home and call for help. Never go back into a burning home.
SERVPRO of Oak Park-River Forest is there for you with any fire mitigation needs from clean up to content storage.
Deep fryer caught on fire.
For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.
Thanksgiving by the numbers
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.
- In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
- Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Oak Park - River Forest Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your ome.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Oak Park-River Forest will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 708-483-8636