Fire safety: 3 simple ways to test if your fire extinguisher will work

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We are expecting our second cold snap of the season, and as the temperatures drop in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville Fire Rescue tells News4JAX a rise in the number of fires is expected too.

When it gets very cold, more fires happen when people are trying to heat their home. According to Consumer Reports, statistics show space heaters are involved in one-third of all home heating fires.

Related: Space heater safety | The Fire Safety Test

Home fires can be unpredictable and deadly. That’s why having properly working fire extinguishers around your home could save your life. Consumer Reports and fire safety experts recommend keeping multipurpose fire extinguishers for your home.

“You want to have the most common type of fire extinguisher which will be an A-B-C fire extinguisher that will extinguish the three types of common fires, which is wood and paper which is a class A, Class B which is flammable liquids, and a Class C is going to be electrical fires,” said fire and safety expert Alider Pratts.

Make sure your fire extinguisher will work

To be sure your fire extinguisher will work when you need it, first, make sure it hasn’t been recalled. Go online to to check the model number. “If you have a recalled Kidde fire extinguisher, contact the company to have it replaced as soon as possible,” said Consumer Reports Investigative Reporter Ryan Felton. Next, make sure your fire extinguisher is where you will need it. Consumer Reports recommends you store it where you think a fire is most likely to occur like the kitchen, laundry room, and garage.

Also, regularly check the dial on the pressure gauge. It should always be within the green zone. And check the manufacture date on your extinguisher. If it’s older than 12 years, replace it.

How to use your fire extinguisher

Consumer Reports says along with owning a working fire extinguisher, it’s essential that you know how to use it.

“Read the instructions and familiarize yourself with your fire extinguisher before there is an emergency. You don’t want the first time you ever handle it to be when there’s an actual fire to put out,” said Felton.

Once you’ve looked at the pressure gauge to make sure the fire extinguisher is fully charged, follow the PASS method:

  • Pull the pin to break the seal
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire while standing about 8 feet from it
  • Squeeze the handle slowly and evenly
  • Sweep from side to side until fire is completely extinguished.

JFRD says if there is a fire, call 911 first – that way they are already on the way just in case.

Consumer Reports: Best smoke & carbon monoxide detectors

Also, fire extinguishers are designed for small fires. If you can’t put it out yourself, get out of the house immediately and remain a safe distance outside while you wait for firefighters to arrive.

Smoke detectors

Having a working smoke detector can save your life. It will alert you and your family right away to smoke and give you and your family time to get out.

If you live in Duval County and you need a smoke detector, you can get one for free from the city and an expert will install it for you. Call 630-CITY to make an appointment. This is for Jacksonville residents only.