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How to Buy a Fire Extinguisher

Posted on: December 17, 2010

A fire extinguisher is one of those items that you buy hoping you never have to use it. Even so, choosing the right fire extinguisher for your building is invaluable to keeping your building safe from fire. You should do your research before you buy a fire extinguisher so that you can be sure it will provide you and your co-workers with the most protection.

 

How to Buy the Right Fire Extinguisher

The most important thing to look at when buying a fire extinguisher is the class of fire that the extinguisher is designed for. The different fire classifications are:

  • Class A -wood, cloth, paper, plastic, etc
  • Class B – flammable liquids like gasoline
  • Class C – electrical fires for wiring and appliances

Most building owners choose to buy ABC rated fire extinguishers. In addition to the letter classifications, you should pay attention to the numbers on the side of the fire extinguisher. These numbers  provide valuable information about how well the fire extinguisher will work. For example, let’s say you have a fire extinguisher that is rated 2A 40B-C. The “2A” part means that the fire extinguisher functions about the same as approximately two gallons of water when putting out a Class A fire. The “40B-C” indicates that the fire extinguisher will put out up to 40 square feet of Class B and C fire. The size of fire extinguisher you should buy is largely dependent on the size of the space you want to protect, but remember – when buying a fire extinguisher, bigger is always better. You can never be too careful when it comes to fire safety!

After you have chosen the size of fire extinguisher you want, decide whether you want to buy a disposable or rechargeable fire extinguisher. Disposable fire extinguishers, typically made of plastic, tend to be the least expensive option. Unfortunately, after about 12 years they begin to lose pressure and must be replaced if you want to keep your building safe. Rechargeable fire extinguishers are much more durable and can last for years if properly maintained. Whichever type you choose, remember to have them annually serviced by a reputable fire protection services company so they will always be able to keep you safe in the event of a fire.

Things to Consider When Buying a Fire Extinguisher

Whatever type of fire extinguisher you choose, make sure it is either FM or UL certified. An FM or UL certification is your assurance that your fire extinguisher will be dependable whenever you need it.

Once you have purchased the fire extinguisher, make sure you know how to use it! A fire extinguisher is only useful to the extent that you and your employees know how to operate it. If you buy a fire extinguisher from a fire protection company, ask if they offer training sessions for proper fire extinguisher use. Those seemingly simple skills you learn could save your life someday!

The right fire extinguisher is an incredibly valuable tool to keep your business safe during a fire. If you are ready to buy a fire extinguisher for your New Jersey, Delaware or Philadelphia area building and want help choosing the right type, call the experts at Confires today!

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