How to Prepare for an Emergency
Choose multipurpose extinguishers. These are labeled as type “ABC,” meaning they are equipped to fight fires caused by ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical equipment. Make sure you have one in the kitchen, the garage, the basement, and wherever your furnace and hot-water heater are located.
Inspect them regularly. If the gauge doesn’t read full (100 percent), have the extinguisher serviced if it’s rechargeable and buy a new one if it’s not.
Replace old extinguishers. “The dry chemicals in them degrade and become less effective over time,” Chris Reynolds, a fire chief and a professor of public-sector and critical-infrastructure studies at the American Military University, in Tampa, says.
Know how to use them. Once you’ve squeezed the lever, sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until the fire appears to be out.