If you're adding fire extinguishers to your home, you're taking a valuable step toward keeping you and your family safe. However, keeping the extinguishers around isn't that simple. While the extinguishers are just going to sit, waiting for use, you can't ignore them completely. Here are three things that you need to know if you're going to store fire extinguishers in your home.
The More, the Better
Fires can happen anywhere in the home. While places like the kitchen seem like a more likely place, you can't just place an extinguisher in the kitchen and expect that to be of use in other rooms. The more, the better when it comes to extinguishers; store one in the kitchen, one in each bedroom, and one as many other rooms as possible. Don't forget the garage; RVs and areas where fuel is stored need to have extinguishers as well.
Maintenance Is Necessary
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides a list of quick steps you can do to keep the extinguisher in good shape. In a nutshell, you need to check all seals and pins to make sure they're intact, and you need to check over the extinguisher's tank to ensure there is no damage. The pressure gauge should show that the extinguisher is pressurized correctly (but more on this in a moment). OSHA advises following the checklist once per month or more frequently.
These Do Expire and You Can't Always Tell
A frustrating aspect of extinguishers is that they can expire and lose pressure over time without really showing any signs. For example, after several years, that pressure gauge can break and get stuck at normal even if the internal pressure in the tank has dropped. Once the extinguisher has been sitting around for a while (this is purposefully vague as there's really no way to tell how long an extinguisher can sit around; many printed expiration dates are not reliable), you may want to replace it even if it looks fine. Higher-end extinguishers can be refilled professionally, but if you have the cheap ones you buy at big-box stores, you should contact your local household hazardous waste disposal facility to take the old extinguishers, and you should then get new extinguishers for your home.
Contact a company like Universal Fire Equipment for more information about fire extinguishers in the home. These are valuable items that you don't want to be without.