How old is your fire extinguisher?  Do you even have one?  Will it be ready to serve if the need ever arises? And do you know how to use it? 

Let’s take a look at some of these questions! There are 2 main type of residential fire extinguishers:  rechargeable and disposable.  (If you bought yours at a big box store, it’s probably disposable.)  Disposable fire extinguishers are designed to be used one time and then discarded;  they only last for 12 years. After that time, they are not reliable and should be replaced.  Rechargeable fire extinguishers have a gauge, and a needle pointing to the green area indicates it is ready for use.  They should be recharged after use, when the needle move below green, or every 10 years, whichever comes first.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends using the PASS method when using a fire extinguisher.

Pull the extinguisher’s pin
Aim it low at the base of the fire
Squeeze the lever slowly
Sweep the extinguisher from left to right

The nice folks at have lots more great tips for keeping your home safe!  Be sure to check them out!