Do I Need A Fire Extinguisher In My House?

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.

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.

fire extinguisher for your house

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

fire extinguisher labels

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.

Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher - 2KG ABC Dry Powder Extinguisher FireShield PRO
3,289 Reviews
Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher – 2KG ABC Dry Powder Extinguisher FireShield PRO
  • Comes with a bracket for home or vehicle.
  • Fire Extinguisher For Home, Caravan, Car / Vehicle & Boats

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, Remember…

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.

Richard

My name is Richard.

I'm 40 years old. And I have nearly 20 years experience in various safety and security industries.

I'm here for you, sharing all my knowledge and experience to help you create a safe and secure home for you and your family.

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4 thoughts on “Do I Need A Fire Extinguisher In My House?”

  1. Why is a powder based extinguisher recommended when they are extremely dangerous when used in homes and confined spaces. They reduce visibility to exit.

    Insurer won’t cover you for usage do to the mess they make

    Do your research before making these Terrible suggestions and linkig to a shopping site.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comments. You are correct when you state that they are extremely dangerous in confined spaces, where even a couple of short depressions can cause visibility issues as well as health problems if quantity is inhaled – you’re also right about the residue they leave behind. It can also cause corrsion on metals and wiring if not cleaned up correctly.

      I will add this to the article, thanks.

      Yet, that being said, a kitchen or a room in a home is not generally classed as an enclosed space, a fire anywhere, generally causes reduced visibility due to smoke, and I have no idea where you’ve got the insurer bit from – granted, accidental, malicious or discharging through negligence, and your insurer may raise doubts, but I would imagine they would be quite happy to cover a claim where the homeowner claim is for some messed up carpet or equipment rather than a full house rebuild after the house burns down!

      And the reason I recommend this type of extinguisher is because of it’s versatilty. It’s rated A-C plus electrical fires. Have you ever seen an incorrect extinguisher being discharged into a fire that it’s not designed to fight and what happens to that fire immediately after? I would hazard a guess and say no. So it’s 1 small extinguisher to cover 99% of potential small fires that occur in a home setting.

      If I could recommend a home have every class of fire extinguisher, I would, but it’s simply not going to happen for reasons of money, aesthetics and space.

      And as stated in the article numerous times, a fire extinguisher should be last in defence after heat and smoke detector installation, and fire plans and fire blankets. I also state that the best advice is to get out, stay out and dial 999, I also state that all extinguishers have limitations, I also state that a persons skill level, confidence, training and knowledge could be a limitation and I also state that people have died whilst using a fire extinguisher. The warnings are all there, and it’s up to the site visitor to then make an informed decision on whether they want any fire extinguisher at all.

      As for me needing to do research, it’s a thanks but no thanks from me, as for the link to the best and biggest online marketplace in the world, I’ll continue to do so at my discretion – the internet is heavily monetized and this site is no different, as stated in numerous places on every page.

      And lastly, if they were that dangerous, I’m absolutely sure the sale of such fire extinguishers would have been banned many years ago.

      All the best.

      Reply
  2. Hi my home insurance company is insisting I have fire blanket, two smoke alarms and two fire extinguishers. There is no legislation in the UK requiring this in the home environment. I live in a small house and feel that should the smoke alarms go off then I do what is suggested and that is get out, stay out and call 999. I feel it is irresponsible of the insurance company to make fire extinguishers a compulsory part of covering my property for fire.

    Reply

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