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Do I Really Need a Fire Extinguisher?

Every time we read stories of homes or business lost to fires, we cringe just a little. Our job and passion lies in fire safety, and putting a fire extinguisher in every home and business in America.

People occasionally ask us if they really need a fire extinguisher in their home or business, and why we feel so strongly about it.

Today, we're answering that question.

Do you really need a fire extinguisher? Yes, and here are three compelling reasons why.

1. Fires Double in Size Every 30 Seconds

According to numerous studies, fires can double in size every thirty seconds.

Thanks to an effect called flashover, once a fire reaches a certain temperature it can cause the area around it to spontaneously combust all at once, crossing gaps and rapidly igniting everything nearby.

If you have a wood stove, you've likely witnessed this effect first hand. When you add more wood to smouldering ashes, it will start to smoke and get hot. If you lay a match to one end of the wood, the entire pile will ignite all at once.

Now with this knowledge, consider the average response time of firefighters. Times vary based on location and whether you reside in an urban or residential area, but the general rule is about six minutes between the 911 call and a fire engine pulling up.

What does this mean?

A small fire, if left unchecked, can mostly consume a structure before firefighters arrive on the scene.

However, if a fire extinguisher is nearby, you might be able to extinguish or slow a fire enough that you can save your property and any lives involved before the fire is out of control.

2. A Fire Can Start Anytime

Most fires start in fairly predictable places - kitchens, electrical cords and barbeque grills, for instance. And many fires start when people are home and doing routine activities that involve these elements, like cooking.

However, fires can start anytime, anywhere.

Consider these scenarios:

  • You're at home, reading a book cuddled up on the couch, when you get an urgent call from a family member and rush out to respond, forgetting to blow out the candles you'd lit - one of which is too near the blanket you hastily threw off.
  • You're cooking dinner when your kids yell at you from upstairs. You run up to see what's going on, and your potatoes start to burn, igniting a small fire on the cooktop.
  • You walk out the door to work in the morning, petting your dog goodbye as you pass, completely unaware that the flickering light in the living room you've been meaning to have checked out is actually a short in the system that's going to cause a fire today while you're at work.

In every single one of these scenarios, a fire starts during normal, everyday routines. A candle left burning unattended, a cooking mishap, faulty wiring - these are common causes of fires that are reported every day.

However, in each of these cases, an extinguisher can be the difference between total property loss and a major tragedy averted.

3. They Come With Perks

Did you know that installing fire extinguishers in your home does more than just prevent fires?

Most insurance companies offer discounts on home owner's insurance for fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers! Different insurance companies have different requirements to meet discount guidelines, but many will offer a sizeable discount off your monthly premium simply for having an extinguisher in your home.

What Kind of Fire Extinguisher Should I Get?

There are two main things to consider when looking for a fire extinguisher. For a quick overview, check out our Fireball compared to other extinguisher systems.

1. Classes of Fire Extinguishers

Fires are designated into certain classes, depending on their fuel source. And different classes of fires require different types of extinguishers. Using the wrong one can have disastrous results, sometimes spreading the fire further.

There are extinguishers that can deal with multiple classes of fire, meant to be a one-size-fits-all approach to most common fires.

2. Automatic or Manual

Some fire extinguishers require manual use, and some are meant to deploy automatically. If you're concerned about being able to use a manual extinguisher, or what would happen if you weren't home when a fire started, you'll want to look into automatic fire extinguishers, like the Fireball.

Do I Need a Fire Extinguisher?

In a word, yes.

If you want to keep your home safe from potential fires, the easiest way to do it isn't just to be quick on the dial to 911 - it's to have the means to fight a fire before it becomes too big to control.

Check out the AFG Fireball today and you'll be taking the first step to keeping your family and home safe from a potential fire!