Fire Extinguishers – worth the cost?

Author : teriann

I guess I am like everyone else, I never really think of what I would do in an emergency until it actually happens.  Of course by then it would be too late! While there is limited preparation possible for most emergencies there are ways to ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe.

For example think about if a fire were to take place in your home.  You will need to extinguish the flames quickly!  If you had used a fire extinguisher within a few minutes the disaster would have been averted.

Fire Extinguishers – How do they work?

There are three main types of extinguisher and they work in slightly different ways:

Water extinguishers, which are the most common, are essentially tanks full of water with compressed (tightly squeezed) air as the propellant to make them come out. Water extinguishers work by removing heat from the fire.

Dry chemical extinguishers are tanks of foam or dry powder with compressed nitrogen as the propellant. They work by smothering the fire: when you put a layer of powder or foam on the fire, you cut the fuel off from the oxygen around it, and the fire goes out.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers contain a mixture of liquid and gaseous carbon dioxide (a nonflammable gas). CO2 is normally a gas at room temperature and pressure. It has to be stored under high pressure to make it a liquid. When you release the pressure, the gas expands enormously and cools to make a huge white jet. CO2 attacks the fire triangle in two ways: it smothers the oxygen and, because it’s so cold, it also removes heat.

Inside, a fire extinguisher is quite like a giant aerosol can, often with two different substances inside. One of them is a solid, liquid, or gas substance for fighting the fire. The other one is called a propellant and is a pressurized chemical that makes the fire-fighting substance come out when you press the extinguisher handle.

Next time you see a fire extinguisher, take a good look. Have you noticed that fire extinguishers are always really strong steel canisters? That because the propellant is stored inside at a high pressure. Strong canisters are needed to stop the extinguishers from exploding!

The Cost

I know that many might think that since they just can’t afford fire extinguishers good old fashioned water will do just fine.  The thing is depending on the type of fire, water might simply not be sufficient to quickly extinguish the blaze. Often it is smoke inhalation that kills, so the time you would need trying to find enough water to extinguish the fire would be greatly reduced.

Every home is vulnerable to fire, but this is especially true of those homes which are primarily made of wooden materials.  These types of homes are especially vulnerable and so a fire can create severe damage.

Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers combine to give everyone a fighting chance to protect their families from the effects of a fire. Whereas the initial cost of fire extinguishers can run a consumer approximately $8000 and higher depending on the type of extinguisher, it certainly can prove priceless if a fire breaks out.

Smoke detectors are less expensive and although they require a change of batteries are practically maintenance free.

So what’s your take? Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home?

Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley
Gleaner online writer

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