A crucial aspect of home fire safety is knowing where to put a fire extinguisher in the house. Therefore, fire safety should be a critical concern for homeowners. While we hope never to face a fire in our homes, we must prepare for such emergencies.
In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s essential to have fire extinguishers in your home and provide guidance on where to place them effectively.
A note on Fire Safety @ Home
While fire extinguishers are essential, there are other aspects to consider for home safety in case of fires.
Smoke detectors can alert you (and even wake you up) if a fire starts in your home. Here are some we think are the best smoke detectors for your home.
Suppose your apartment or the bedrooms are in a two-story or higher location. In that case, a portable fire escape ladder can be a lifesaver.
Finally, while often overlooked, a fire blanket can smother an incipient fire without a fire extinguisher. Fire blankets are pretty inexpensive, enabling you to have several stored around the house.
Why It’s Vital to Know Where to Put a Fire Extinguisher in the House
The presence of a fire extinguisher can make a significant difference in containing a small fire before it becomes a raging inferno. Here’s why knowing where to put a fire extinguisher in the house is essential:
- Quick Response: Fires can spread rapidly, and having a fire extinguisher within easy reach allows you to react swiftly, potentially preventing a minor incident from turning into a disaster.
- Protection of Life and Property: Knowing where to put a fire extinguisher can protect your family and property if a fire breaks out.
- Meeting Legal Requirements: In many regions, building codes and regulations require homeowners to know where to put a fire extinguisher in the house. Non-compliance can lead to fines or other legal consequences.
How to Determine Where to Put a Fire Extinguisher in the House
Now that you understand why it’s vital to know where to put a fire extinguisher in the house, let’s discuss how to determine the suitable locations:
One on every floor, or multiple extinguishers per floor?
The NFPA guidelines tell us that the maximum distance between you and a fire extinguisher should be 75 feet (ca. 23 m). The only exception to this rule is when you have multiple floors.
So, you should consider:
- One extinguisher for every floor
- One extinguisher in every fire-prone or vital area
- One extinguisher every 75 feet (ca. 23 m).
Perhaps the most obvious choice is that the kitchen is a high-risk area for fires due to cooking activities. You should mount one on the wall near the kitchen entrance or under the sink for quick access.
Did you know that 50% of residential fires start in the kitchen?
Ensure it’s away from the stove but still within a few steps. Why? If it’s too close, it might be challenging to reach it if the whole thing catches fire!
Note: Since there’s usually grease in the kitchen, you won’t be able to use water to extinguish that fire.
As a rule, I recommend using a BC extinguisher in this scenario. However, a K-type extinguisher may be the best choice if you have a heavy-duty kitchen, like in a restaurant with lots of greases.
Laundry or Utility Room
Utility and laundry rooms can contain electrical equipment and other potential fire hazards. Appliances without proper maintenance, like dryers, produce lint and other residues that can ignite and start a fire.
Note: Always clean your dryer’s lint trap before each use to reduce the chances of a fire starting.
I recommend using an ABC extinguisher as the best choice in this scenario.
Garage / Workshop
The garage or workshop is another fire-prone area, with flammable materials often stored there.
Knowing where to put a fire extinguisher in the house’s garage involves installing one near the entrance and ensuring it’s easily visible and accessible.
Note that since there’s usually grease in these areas, you won’t be able to use water to extinguish that fire. I recommend using a BC extinguisher as the best choice in this scenario.
Hallways or at the top and bottom of staircases are excellent spots to place an extinguisher. These central locations provide quick access to various parts of the house or apartment.
Place one nearby to address outdoor fire risks if you have a grill, outdoor kitchen, or shed with flammable materials.
Trash storage areas
Since it is tough to control what materials end up in the trash, there’s a good chance that something flammable reaches there that a spark might ignite. These areas should have a smoke detector installed and a fire extinguisher nearby.
A furnace, fireplace, or radiator are a potential fire hazard since they all emit heat. Ensure a fire extinguisher covers these areas.
How high can I put a fire extinguisher in the house?
When it comes to the installation height of fire extinguishers, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides essential guidelines to ensure accessibility in case of emergencies.
According to NFPA recommendations, fire extinguishers should be positioned at a minimum height of 4 inches (ca. 10 cm) above the floor while not exceeding a maximum height of 5 feet (ca. 152 cm).
It’s important to note that an exception exists for extinguishers exceeding 40 lbs. You should install them at a maximum height of 3 feet 6 inches (ca. 107 cm) from the floor.
Additionally, due to their mobility, wheeled fire extinguishers do not require elevation from the floor since their built-in wheels inherently prevent the cylinder from touching the ground.
These height recommendations ensure that fire extinguishers remain easily accessible to all home occupants if needed.
In pursuing a safer home environment, understanding where to put a fire extinguisher in the house is essential to fire safety. Fires, while rare, can escalate quickly. The presence of a fire extinguisher can make a significant difference in containing a small fire before it becomes a devastating inferno.
Knowing where to put a fire extinguisher empowers homeowners to act swiftly, potentially preventing minor incidents from transforming into catastrophic disasters. Beyond just protection, many regions have legal requirements emphasizing the significance of proper fire extinguisher placement in the home.
However, fire safety doesn’t stop at fire extinguishers alone. Smoke detectors, portable fire escape ladders, and fire blankets also play vital roles in ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones. These additional safety measures complement the strategic placement of fire extinguishers.
Following the guidance in this article and adhering to the NFPA recommendations, you can create a fire-safe home environment and be well-prepared for any potential emergency.