People often wonder, do I need a fire extinguisher in my home? Or are they just reserved for businesses and places where the the general public may be in danger should a fire break out?
A fire extinguisher in your home has the potential to be an important part of your home fire safety plan. Along with other good fire safety devices such as fire blankets and linked smoke detectors or fire alarm system, a fire extinguisher can suppress a fire and give you enough time to escape, or even extinguish a fire preventing the loss of property and life.
But do you really need a fire extinguisher in your house?
This article will outline the pros and cons of having a fire extinguisher in your home.
Below is a handy table of contents. Click on any of the headers, and you’ll be taken to that part of the article. I am an Amazon Associate, and earn from qualifying purchases.
Table of Contents
Fire Extinguishers – The Law
Do I need a fire extinguisher in my home? Well, no, not according to the law.
There is currently no law in the UK that stipulates that a fire extinguisher needs to be present in any UK domestic home.
Your home was built to specific building regulations, of which some of these regulations pertain to fire regulations and fire safety.
If you own or rent a house, then there is no legal requirement for a fire extinguisher to be present.
However, some laws and stipulations are in place if your home has communal areas, like shared access for flats or maisonettes, for example.
The Pros Of Having A Fire Extinguisher At Home
Here’s a list of why you should invest in a fire extinguisher at home, and hopefully will answer the question: Do I need a fire extinguisher in my home?
- If you have a small fire that you find early, you have the potential to completely extinguish it quickly with the use of a nearby fire extinguisher
- If you have a larger fire, you can suppress the fire to an extent where it lets you exit the building safely.
- Peace of mind.
- They are extremely affordable.
The Cons Of Having A Fire Extinguisher At Home
Here’s a list of reasons on why you shouldn’t have a fire extinguisher at home.
- You may not have room for it in your house.
- They are not aesthetically pleasing on the eye.
- They need to be looked after and made sure they are serviceable and in date.
- Potentially, a fire extinguisher puts the user in more danger than simply exiting the building and getting to safety.
- Training on use of an extinguisher is necessary.
- Training and knowledge of different extinguishers and different types of fires is neccessary.
- You may need more than one type of fire extinguisher (one type of extinguisher not suitable for all fire types).
Do I Need A Fire Extinguisher At Home?
From the lists above, you’ll be surprised to see that there are more cons than pros.
The biggest con for me is the fact that it can lull people into a false sense of security, because using a fire extinguisher on a fire guarantees nothing. In fact, people have died trying to put out a fire using a fire extinguisher where the limitations of the extinguisher has been exceeded by the velocity of the fire.
It also puts untrained people in front of different types of fires that they don’t understand (think electrical or chemical fire), which poses it’s own danger. Use the wrong type of fire extinguisher on certain fires, and it can actually make the fire worse.
So please, if you do go ahead and buy a fire extinguisher for your home, remember official advice:
If there’s a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.
Having a fire extinguisher in your home gives peace of mind, but using a fire extinguisher in your home to tackle even a small fire can lead to unnecessary risk taking.
Always, always remember the official advice above.
Before you Buy A Fire Extinguisher
Before you buy a fire extinguisher, it is recommended to have these following things all sorted before making your purchase, in the following order of importance:
- Have working smoke detectors (or combi detectors) on each floor of your home as a bare minimum. For maximum safety, aim to have one in every room, and make sure you buy linked smoke detectors that will set off all alarms no matter where the fire or smoke was detected. If every room is unfeasible or out of your budget, place in hallways or landings which will at least detect smoke as it’s coming out of individual rooms.
- Have a fire escape plan in your head. Go through it with every family member. If a fire breaks in x, y or z room, does everybody in your household know where to go and what to do? Make sure any windows that could be used for escape are in good working order, and if they require a key, make sure the key is either always kept in the lock or somewhere close by.
- Consider the purchase of a fire blanket. Fire blankets are usually used in the kitchen and will quell a fire by taking out the oxygen source. Fire blankets are relatively inexpensive and are ideal for small fires that have just started.
Buying a fire extinguisher before making sure 1, 2 and 3 are all in order is like turning on your central heating with all the windows and doors open, so do consider these points before purchasing.
Fire Extinguisher Options
If you are set on buying a fire extinguisher for your home, then first of all you’ll need to understand some basics about the different types of fire extinguishers available.
Water (Red label)
The most basic of extinguishers contain water. These are only suitable for fires that involve flammable materials such as paper, cardboard, wood or textiles.
This fire extinguisher should not be used on electrical fires or anything else that contains an accelerant.
Dry powder (Blue label)
This fire extinguisher contains a powder that works by cutting the supply of oxygen to the fire. It is suitable for most fires including flammable materials such as paper, cardboard wood and textiles, as well as electrial fires and flammable liquid fires.
This type of fire extinguisher is extremely versatile.
CO2 (Black label)
This fire extinguisher contains the chemical CO2 and works again by cutting the oxygen supply to the fire. It is best suited to fires involving flammable liquids and electrical fires.
Which Fire Extinguisher Should I Buy For My Home?
So you’ve asked the question do I need a fire extinguisher for my home, and you’ve come to the conclusion, that yes, you want a fire extinguisher.
Which one should you buy?
I highly recommend the most versatile fire extinguisher, which from the list above, is the dry powder fire extinguisher denoted by the blue label on the side of the cannister. It will fight fires rated A-C as well as electrical fires, so this is the most versatile fire extinguisher you can buy, without the need to buy every type of fire extinguisher to cover every type of fire.
The following fire extinguisher is cheap, lightweight and suitable for home use. It also gets a huge amount of incredibly positive reviews on Amazon.
One thing to note here though, is that this type of fire extinguisher does cause a misting effect, where your visibility can be impeded. That being said, you will probably know your home like the back of your hand, and as long as you’ve always got a clear line of escape then it shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s also not easy to clean up either if you do need to use it, but as with everything in life, it’s all about acheiving the right amount of risk vs safety – is it going to be easier to clean up a small fire where you’ve used a dry powder to extinguish the fire, or will it be easier to rebuild the house after it’s been totally consumed by fire?
With this particular extinguisher, it does come with some very good intructions as well as outlining limitations and downsides – do take time to read this information on purchase.
Training On Fire Extinguishers
It’s really important that if you do decide to purchase a fire extinguisher for your home, that you make yourself aware of the limitations of the fire extinguisher, as well as your own limitations.
Remember, most people die in fires not due to the fire itself – but because of the toxic smoke that a fire can produce. This toxic smoke can quickly and easily incapacitate you, so it is vitally important that you do some research on how to tackle a fire using an extinguisher.
It’s also highly advised to follow the manufacturers instructions that will come with the extinguisher you purchase.
Remember, official advice on finding a fire is to get out, stay out, and dial 999.
You can get more advice on use of home fire extinguishers by visiting your local authority’s fire service website.
Questions & Comments
I hope I have been some help in answering the much asked question: Do I need a fire extinguisher for home use? If you have any further questions, please leave them below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.
Tags: Do I need a fire extinguisher, Should I buy a fire extinguisher for my home.