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Fire extinguishers can save lives and property
by Article courtesy of the Marion Fire Department and City of Marion · November 9th, 2017

Fire extinguishers can be very effective at extinguishing a fire if you catch the fire when it is still small. In Marion, we have actually had several fires that were either fully extinguished or nearly extinguished by the occupant or a neighbor using a fire extinguisher.

The Marion Fire Department does fire safety training and fire extinguisher training for every seventh grader in the Linn-Mar School District. This equates to about 575 kids being trained on how to use a fire extinguisher each year.

Fire extinguishers are a great tool, but they must only be used on small fires. A general rule is that an extinguisher can safely be used for about 60 seconds after a fire starts. Fires today burn hotter, faster, and produce more toxic smoke than ever before, which is why you have such a short time to safely use a fire extinguisher.

It is important to know where the closest fire extinguisher is and that you can get to it quickly. Many people have an extinguisher in their home, but it is located in a cabinet or closet behind everything else in there.

A fire situation is no time to be moving a bunch of stuff to get to the extinguisher. Take a few minutes to find your fire extinguisher. Make sure that you can get to it and make sure the gauge still shows a full charge. Most extinguishers that people have in their homes have a plastic valve assembly which manufacturers recommend replacing after 12 years.

An ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher is great at putting out fires. The powder that comes out is effective and the extinguisher will shoot 10 to 15 feet, especially when you first start using the extinguisher. This distance allows you to fight the fire without being too close to the blaze.

Sometimes it is too late to use an extinguisher. If the fire or smoke is spreading across the ceiling, or if the room is just too hot to enter, it is too late. If it is too late to fight the fire, make sure you close the door when you leave the room. Even a hollow core door like a bedroom door will contain a fire for several minutes and give people time to escape from the building.

Having working smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside of the sleeping areas and on every level of your home is still the best way to alert you to a fire so you have time to escape. Having smoke detectors will also alert you to a fire when it first starts so you may have time to use a fire extinguisher.

Fire Extinguisher Recall

Kidde Fire Extinguisher Company recently announced a major recall on their disposable fire extinguishers. These have the plastic valve assembly and are typically the 2-pound size. This is the type of fire extinguisher that many people have in their homes. The Kidde recall affects 134 different models and ranges in manufacture dates from January 1, 1973, to August 15, 2017. These recalled extinguishers may not work in a fire or the top can fail and cause injury to people around it. If you have a Kidde fire extinguisher, go to or call 855-271-0773 to find out if your extinguisher in involved in the recall. If it is, the company will provide a replacement free of charge.
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