A quick PASS with a fire extinguisher can help homeowners stop a small fire from becoming a big blaze.
A fire extinguisher can also help clear a path if fire blocks the only way out of a burning home.
Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services offers residents a chance to try a fire extinguisher during an upcoming public demonstration at Station Mall as part of Fire Prevention Week. That showcase, including a display of the fire department’s aerial unit, runs Oct. 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the mall’s parking lot. Location is to be announced. An indoor display, near the mall’s food court, runs at the same time.
PASS – pull an extinguisher’s pin, aim at the fire’s base, squeeze the trigger and sweep back and forth can coat a fire and stop oxygen from feeding the flames.
Most fire extinguishers for homes only have 20 to 25 seconds of spray time. That’s good enough to put out a fire on a stovetop or clear a path to a door, but not knock down a couch or all-terrain vehicle fire, said public education officer Aaron Gravelle of Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services.
“Other than that, you’re not putting out very much,” he said.
A person using a fire extinguisher should be four to five feet from a fire. If one fire extinguisher doesn’t stop the fire, get out rather than trying to get another extinguisher, Gravelle advises.
“If one didn’t do it, two’s not going to do it,” he told The Sault Star.
Fire extinguishers should be kept near, but not in, kitchens and in a laundry room, closet or bar area downstairs. Gravelle also recommends keeping a fire extinguisher in a garage. Most units last 10 to 12 years. A multi-purpose extinguisher, good for combustibles, flammable liquids and gases and electrical fires, is recommended by the fire department.
Gravelle, or a fire prevention officer, will be at Walmart from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Home Depot from noon to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Canadian Tire on Wednesday, Oct. 10 from noon to 3 p.m at Station Mall and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Canadian Tire on Oct. 11.
The fire department encourages residents to practise home fire escape plans twice a year, including during Fire Prevention Week. All family members should know a smoke alarm’s sound. If possible, two ways to exit should be identified. Someone should be responsible for helping those who need help, including seniors and young children. A safe meeting place outside should be identified. Call the fire department from a cellphone or neighbour’s home.
“Having a plan gives you that little bit of extra time,” said Gravelle.
He encourages residents to read instructions for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers.
“They’re all a little bit different,” he said.
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