Proper maintenance can extinguish the risk of fire damage to your home

While you hopefully have never had to use a fire extinguisher, you should know where one is stored in your house, when to check it, and how to use it.

Follow these guidelines for your fire extinguisher:

Storing it
Keep your extinguisher near areas that are more likely to have a fire, such as the kitchen, furnace, and garage. Make sure it is readily accessible, and not blocked by doors, furniture, or anything else that would prevent you from reaching it in an emergency. Situate it with the operating instructions facing outward.

Maintaining it Check that the pressure is at the recommended level monthly, and that the hose, nozzle, and outside of the extinguisher are free of debris. Look for any signs of damage, rust, or a leak. If you find these, you’ll need to repair or replace the extinguisher.

Using it
If you experience a house fire, always call the fire department first. Only use the extinguisher if there is a small, localized fire, and make sure you have an available exit. Operate the extinguisher using the PASS technique recommended by FEMA:

Pull: Pull the pin to engage the extinguisher.
Aim: Point the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire.
Squeeze: Squeeze the handle.
Sweep: Move the nozzle or hose from side to side until the fire is out.

 If you can’t put out the fire or have trouble using the extinguisher, evacuate the house immediately.

You also should develop and discuss an escape plan with your family so everyone knows how to evacuate and where to meet in case of a fire. Learn more at

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