Find out why household fire extinguishers are as important to your safety as smoke detectors. Learn about the three different types of fire and get tips on where to place fire extinguishers in your home.
TOM: Well, most people know that smoke detectors are an absolutely essential part of every home to minimize the damage, injuries and deaths caused by fire but many people may not realize that household fire extinguishers  are absolutely just as important. But to use the extinguisher properly, you first need to know a little bit about fire itself. With us with some tips on how to do just that is Kevin O’Connor , the host of This Old House .
KEVIN: Hey, Tom. Great to be here.
TOM: Now you really need to know how the fires are classified before you even think about buying the extinguisher.
KEVIN: Yeah, that’s right. The classification of the fire is critical and so there are three different types. There is the type A fire and that’s anything that leaves an ash; like paper, fabric or wood. Then there are the B fires and that’s for anything that boils; like grease, gas and fuels. And finally is the C fire that is conductive, which is an electrical fire. And so you want to make sure that you use the right type of extinguisher for each type of fire. Now, fortunately, many extinguishers are designed for multiple uses; so they are labeled either AB, BC or the ABC extinguisher which covers all types of fires.
Now, you want to make sure you also keep the extinguishers near the exits of the kitchen, the basement and the garage.
TOM: And speaking of exits, always a good idea to have an escape plan.
KEVIN: It is and you want to make sure you practice it.
And another thing to think about: you want to make sure that you leave the house first and then call 911. And remember, never go back into a burning building for any reason.
So, if you want more tips on fire extinguishers or if you want to see me actually put out a fire, watch our video on ThisOldHouse.com .
TOM: Good tip. Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: Thanks for having me.
LESLIE: You know, that’s really good information, Kevin, and I think it’s really important also to point out that many states and many local municipalities require fire extinguishers for a certificate of occupancy, so it’s really a must.
Now, you can watch Kevin on This Old House and also on Ask This Old House on your local PBS station. Ask This Old House is brought to you by Stanley. Stanley – make something great.