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Blog category: Right at Home

Fire Extinguishers: The First Line of Defense for Home Fires

3 min read

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a fire department responds to a home structure fire every 93 seconds in the U.S., a home-fire-related injury occurs every 47 minutes, and a home-fire-related death occurs every three hours and eight minutes. These are sobering statistics indeed.

While the speedy deployment of a home fire extinguisher may not have prevented or diminished every one of those fires, they are a valuable tool to help protect families and property. Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher and every adult in the household should know how to operate it. It’s also important to know the characteristics of different kinds of extinguishers.

Here, we break down the classes of fires and the different types of fire-retardant agents used. We’ve included extinguisher pricing information as well so you can make the best decision for your first line of defense in containing a fire in your home or on your property.

Class K: Fires in cooking appliances that involve combustible cooking oils and fats. This one’s at the top of the list because most home fires begin in the kitchen at the stove. Extinguisher: Class K fires need extinguishers containing a wet chemical, which is the best agent to deal with oil and fat. The chemical agent forms a foam blanket to prevent the fire from reigniting while the water content of the agent cools and decreases the temperature of the hot oils and fats.

Cost: $25 – $60

Class A: Fires in ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics. Extinguisher: For this type of fire, you need an extinguisher consisting primarily of water, although other additives can be included. For example, some water-based extinguishers contain antifreeze allowing them to be used in freezing temperatures, while others contain wetting agents to increase their effectiveness.

Cost: $30 – $60

Class B: Fires caused by flammable liquids, combustible liquids, petroleum greases, tars, oils, oil-based paints, solvents, lacquers, alcohols, and flammable gases. Extinguisher: This type of fire demands a substance other than water or powder – namely foam. Both aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and film-forming fluoroprotein (FFFP) extinguishers float on the surface of the blaze and prevent it from reigniting.

Cost: $334

Class C: Fires that involve sensitive and often expensive electrical equipment. Extinguisher: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) works best on Class C fires as it doesn’t leave any residue. This type is useful for putting out fires in areas housing delicate instruments that could be damaged, for example in laboratories, or in areas where food is prepared. CO2 extinguishers don’t work as well outside because of their short range and inability to work effectively in windy conditions.

Cost: $220

Class D: Fires that occur in combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, lithium, and potassium. Extinguisher: Dry powder extinguishers are intended for Class D fires and specific metals. These require special techniques to administer, and you should always follow manufacturers’ recommendations. A scoop or shovel is usually the safest application method since a hand-held may require you to get too close to the blaze.

Cost: $200

Most home fires will benefit from multiple wet and dry chemical extinguishers placed around the house in strategic areas including the kitchen, at each exit, and away from heat sources. While you’re adding another layer of protection to your home, why not get in touch with a helpful Wawanesa agent who can make sure your homeowners insurance has enough coverage to give you peace of mind.

Advertisement: Home insurance discounts for affordable protection. Click to get a quote.

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The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.

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