fireFire extinguishers can be an effective tool, but only when you select the correct type for your needs; install them in the most effective locations; and learn the proper way to use them.

Fire extinguishers are a critical component of your building’s overall fire protection system. With properly trained personnel and correctly placed and maintained extinguishers, these devices can suppress a fire in the early stages.

Fire extinguisher servicing contractors can advise you about placement and maintenance of extinguishers, but it’s beneficial to understand the basics.


Extinguishers should be:

      • located along the normal travel paths in your facility, including exit paths
      • highly visibility
      • easily accessible
      • available for immediate use

Maximum travel distances to Class A or D extinguishers should not exceed 75 feet; Class B, 50 feet; and Class K, 30 feet. Maximum travel distances to Class C extinguishers, for electrical devices, should be no greater than for the same hazards (Class A or B) without electricity. Certain circumstances may require shorter travel distances; your fire extinguisher servicing contractor can advise you.

Portable fire extinguishers are required to be visually inspected when initially placed in service and monthly thereafter. This inspection ensures the extinguisher is still in its place and has:

      • no obstructions
      • intact safety seals
      • no physical damage

If you discover a problem during monthly inspections, correct the issue immediately.

At least annually, an approved extinguisher servicing company should perform maintenance that includes a thorough examination of mechanical parts, extinguishing agent and expelling means of each unit.

Fire extinguishers in the home should be placed strategically in the kitchen, workshop or garage and near an exit. Use one only when feasible to knock down a small fire, AFTER you have called 911 and moved everyone to safety. When using a home extinguisher, keep your back to a clear exit for easy escape. Remember that your first priority is to see that everyone gets out safely.

Angie Mercanti, CRIS

Posted in: community, homeowners insurance annapolis, national fire prevention

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