A multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher, type ABC, is recommended for use in the home and garage.  When purchasing a fire extinguisher be sure it is UL listed, and that it is recommended for normal combustibles (wood and paper), flammable liquids (gasoline and cooking grease), and energized electrical equipment (toasters, clothes dryers etc.).  Read the instructions carefully and keep the fire extinguisher fully charged and in a convenient "ready to-use" location.

Remember "P.A.S.S"

  • Pull pin
  • Aim extinguisher at bottom of flames
  • Squeeze trigger and use a
  • Sweeping motion along the base of the fire.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Tips:

  • Check the gauge on your fire extinguisher on a monthly basis to ensure the extinguisher is accurately charged.  A home extinguisher should be serviced and recharged by a professional on an annual basis;
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for care and maintenance;
  • Rechargeable models must be serviced and recharged after every use;
  • A partially discharged fire extinguisher is always considered an empty one. Have it refilled or replaced immediately;
  • Disposable fire extinguishers can only be used once and must be replaced after use;
  • Most fire equipment service companies will not recharge a fire extinguisher with a plastic head assembly, since they find they aren't reliable in holding a charge; and
  • For additional information, check with your local fire equipment service company in the Yellow Pages under "Fire Extinguishers.”

The following are recommended monthly maintenance checks of your fire extinguisher:

  • Clear any obstacles that prevent clear and easy access to your fire extinguisher;
  • Ensure your extinguisher is at the recommended operating pressure, indicated by the needle in the green zone on extinguishers equipped with an industry and NFPA standard gauge. Have the extinguisher recharged if the needle is not in the green zone of the gauge;
  • Check the hose or nozzle for cracks, tears or blockage by debris. If damage is found, have the extinguisher repaired by a qualified service technician or replaced;
  • Ensure the pin and tamper seal are intact. If the tamper seal is broken or the pin is missing, have the extinguisher serviced by a qualified service technician;
  • Check to ensure the handle or lever is undamaged. If the handle or lever is wobbly or broken, have the extinguisher inspected and repaired by a qualified service technician;
  • Look over the extinguisher for dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and/or other signs of abuse or wear. If damage is found, have the extinguisher repaired by a qualified service technician or replaced;
  • Remove the extinguisher from its mounting bracket, turn the extinguisher upside down and hit the bottom sharply with your hand, then shake it well. This will prevent the dry chemical powder from settling or packing down in the cylinder, making it ineffective; and
  • Note the date of the monthly inspection on the inspection tag attached to your fire extinguisher.