I'm sure that most people (or I would hope everyone) has the necessary number of functional smoke alarms to protect them by offering an early warning against fire. However I doubt that many people have a fire extinguisher which often surprises me. Most fires will start small and quickly grow feeding on oxygen and being fuelled by everything around them, but if you can stop them when they are small they you save not only property but possibly your life.
I would always recommend that every household has at least one fire extinguisher to offer an additional safe guard as this "Kidde Easy Action Home Fire Extinguisher" is a great place to start.
This extinguisher contains dry powder as opposed to water or foam. This is the ideal fire fighting agent not only for the kitchen but to give you good protection for the home as it can be used on class A, B, and C fires. In other words it's suitable for burning solids such as wood or normal combustibles, flammable liquids and gases, as well as electrical equipment.
This extinguisher is NOT suitable for deep fat fryer or chip pan fires, which requires either a specialist wet chemical extinguisher or fire blanket.
Its small size and light weight make it easy to wall mount, inspect, and most importantly use when needed. The design of the extinguisher also allows for single hand operation with a simple squeezing action which releases the powder (after you have aimed at the base of the fire).
It comes with a five year guarantee and the extinguisher should be replaced after that time. It does recommend that you carry out periodic inspections (usually once a week) just to ensure that it's not been tampered with, the nozzle is clear, and the status indication is still in the green.
I have this fire extinguisher in my kitchen which is the best place as it's the most likely the place where a fire is going to start. Remember that this extinguisher can only be used on small fires, and you should always ensure that you have a clear escape route.
If in doubt get out!
You can buy this item from various retailers such as Amazon.co.uk for £20.40, however it does vary in price as I was able to pick mine up in my local hardware shop for £17.99 so shop around for the best deal.
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)
Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? You should. Most fires in the home start in the kitchen and, of course, start small. If you can put out the fire in the first minute, you can save your home. For most kitchen fires (except chip pan fires), the best way is to use a fire extinguisher.
For a fire to start, three elements must be present, known as the fire triangle:
Removing any element causes the fire to go out. Since it's difficult to remove the fuel (i.e. what's burning), most fire extinguishers focus on removing heat or oxygen.
The best type of fire extinguisher for the kitchen is of the dry powder design. These are very efficient since they cover the fire with powder that forms a skin over the fuel, smothering the flames in seconds.
The dry powder extinguishers can be used with all common kitchen fires, including electrical, but NOT with chip pan fires, consider getting a fire blanket for these (I'm sure everyone now knows not to throw water onto a chip pan fire. If not, there's plenty of Youtube videos that will show the horrific effects of doing this).
I found a superb example of a dry powder extinguisher: the 'Kidde KSF1GM Easy Action Home Fire Extinguisher'.
The extinguisher contains 1Kg of ABC dry powder which is enough to tackle any suitable small fire. The unit has an easy carry handle, with the operating buttons close to where the thumb naturally lies, so can be operated single handed.
As mentioned above, it's important to get to a fire as soon as possible, so an extinguisher that's easy to operate is essential. This extinguisher could not be simpler. A press of the yellow button breaks the seal. The nozzle is then pointed at the base of the fire and the black lever pressed.
Unlike older types, there's no pin to pull out etc. so it can be working within seconds (it's worth making sure that everyone knows what to do with the Kidde to save the valuable seconds required to read even these simple instructions).
The extinguisher should be situated near to an exit in the kitchen (so the fire does not get between you and an exit if it spreads whilst fighting it), and inspected regularly. If the pressure gauge is in the red, it should be taken out of service.
If the extinguisher is ever operated, it MUST be replaced or recharged, even if only a small amount has been used. Failure to do so could result in not enough powder being left to tackle a fire.
Thankfully, I've never had to operate my Kidde fire extinguisher, but I have used dry powder extinguishers in fire safety training sessions at work. They are efficient, and easy to use, but they are also, very, very messy! Operating one in the kitchen will cover surfaces, floors, and walls with a fine, sticky powder that's very difficult to clean up. This is, of course, better than having the house burnt down but it's worth knowing the results of operating it!
Hopefully, none of us will ever need to use an extinguisher, but we should have one available just in case. The Kidde dry powder extinguisher, is small, efficient, and above all easy to operate and can be highly recommended for all homes.
The KSF1GM cost £15 from CostCo. It is available for around £20 from many other retailers.
Finally, a tip. The Fire Brigade offer a home fire risk assessment performed by station personnel. Fire officers visit your home and offer advice on improving the fire safety features of your house. This service is completely free and can be arranged through your local station.