Worth Having: Fire Extinguisher


Last Thursday evening I was reminded of how quickly a fire can change your life when a large portion of my father’s house was consumed by flames that started out as tiny sparks in the electrical system. Although this fire had nothing to do with cooking or even the kitchen, it did remind me that everyone in the household needs to know where to find the fire extinguishers and to be able to use them.

This picture is of the large fire extinguisher we have in the pantry kitchen at my test kitchen facility. There is a smaller, prettier white extinguisher in the main kitchen, too. At home I have one under my kitchen sink and another at the back door. We’ve never had to use one of these tools but, due to my husband’s forethought, they are always on hand and in good maintenance.

None of us expects a fire to break out in our homes but even people who only use the oven to bake frozen pizza should have a fire extinguisher in their kitchen. Although the fire at my dad’s house was too serious to be helped by a household fire extinguisher, hundreds of other people have been saved injury by using them. So, if you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, please get one and learn how to use it.

How many of you reading today have a fire extinguisher that you know how to use and know is up to current fire code standards?

15 Responses to Worth Having: Fire Extinguisher

  1. As you say, a fire extinguisher is a must. We have one and I do know how to use it, but after checking the tag, It needs inspecting. They have a shelf life.

    Glad no one was hurt at your father’s.

  2. Rosa says:

    I have no fire extinguisher at home, although it could be very useful…



  3. Charmaine Broughton says:

    Thanks for always writing such an informative blog!

    I have sent a link to my friend who is a Firefighter in York Region, I know herself and her fellow colleagues will appreciate your words of VERY important wisdom.

  4. Candace says:

    That’s awful! I hope your dad is OK! I think that’s a good sign for me to get a fire extinguisher myself.

  5. You can never be too prepared!

    Thanks for your concern friends. My Dad and his wife are fine physically but reeling from the shock of losing their home and possessions.

  6. Cheryl A says:

    Oh, how awful. We had a parked car lit on fire and our last fire extinguisher was feebly used to stop it. We should get another, thanks for the reminder.

  7. Thanks God no one was hurt! Good tip to remind people about fire extinguishers.

  8. Cheryl says:

    Oh, Dana, that’s just awful. Of course it;s wonderful that they’re okay, but they must be devastated.

    I had a fire in my grill over the summer (flames shooting out the sides), and I panicked and couldn’t locate the extinguisher. Even now at this writing I think it’s under the kitchen sink, but I’m actually going to double check because, sadly, I’m not 100% sure it’s really there.

    Thanks for this.

  9. Diva says:

    Oh, Dana, I am so very sorry to hear about the fire at your dad’s place. What an awful thing! I’m glad to hear that he’s physically unharmed – but I can’t imagine the psychological damage. I will keep your family in my prayers.

    To answer the question – yes, I have one right under my kitchen table and, thanks to the super of my building, it is up to code. I can’t say for certain that I know how to use it though and I will remedy that.

    On Christmas Eve 2001, we had a pop-over disaster in my father in law’s kitchen and started a fire. Fortunately, we got it under control – but not without panic and unhappily without the aid of an extinguisher. We’ve learned our lesson.

  10. Matt says:

    Dana, good on you to remind people about this. Not to top your story but rather to add to it, my wife and left on vacation leaving Grandma and Grandpa to watch the kids (3 young teenagers). My eldest, trying to prepare some stuffed meatballs, mistakenly substituted oil for beef broth and left 6 cups on the stove to boil. The stove caught fire, my daughter ran to the garage for the extinguisher only to hand it to my son because she did not know how to use it.

    By this point, the stove was going pretty good. My son was frankly scared to get that close to the fire so he handed the extinguisher to Grandpa. Fortunately Grandpa a former fire inspector for an insurance company, knew what to do and put it out.

    Grandma and Grandpa left for home as soon as we arrived, the next day, probably to have a martini. Fortunately, all we lost was a pot.

    Bottom line, everyone should know how to use an extinguisher. The local fire department will be glad to show you.

  11. Elra says:

    I think this is a must have at home. I have 2, one in the kitchen (obviously) and one in the garage!

  12. danamccauley says:

    Matt, thanks for sharing your story – it’s a great reminder of how important it is for kids to know how to handle a fire.

    Thanks to the rest of you for your excellent comments.

  13. […] to control a kitchen fire NB to Monday’s post:  In what can only be deemed to be uncanny timing, my friend Ann Davidson’s EMT husband Dan […]

  14. hosed88 says:

    Thanks for the heads-up on such an important topic.

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