Portable fire extinguishers apply an agent that will cool burning fuel, restrict or remove oxygen, or interfere with a chemical reaction so that a fire cannot continue to burn. Every home and office should have at least one fire extinguisher. Identify hazardous areas where fires are likely to start and keep an extinguisher in a handy location, but far enough away from anticipated fire areas. Everyone affected should know where they are located and how they operate. If you anticipate a fire involving ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper, cloth, upholstery, plastics, or similar materials, keep a Class A water or dry chemical extinguisher handy.
Use a Class B extinguisher, which utilizes a dry chemical carbon dioxide or halon, to put out blazes caused by flammable liquids, kitchen grease, paint, oil, kerosene, or similar materials. Never use water for these fires - it will not extinguish the flames. For Class C fires, involving live electrical equipment or wires, use a dry chemical, carbon dioxide or halon extinguisher. Never use water. If possible, cut off the power before the fire becomes a Class A or B. It is best to purchase an ABC-type fire extinguisher as these are the most versatile and will extinguish all three classes of fire. Check your fire extinguisher for detailed instructions on how to operate your particular type. For more information, contact the Fire Prevention Division at 644-3106. To purchase a fire extinguisher, please check your local yellow pages under "Fire Protection".