Safety For You: Smoke detectors & Fire extinguishers

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MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, MI (WLNS) – I think it’s safe to say you see these things everywhere you go. They can be seen when you look up at the ceiling and usually sit behind shiny glass in restaurants, schools, shopping malls, and even in your own home.

Although they’re used differently, they serve the same purpose, which is to help save lives.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2015, there were more than 500,000 structure fires, causing nearly 3,000 deaths. That’s why this year’s national theme is working toward’ s lowering those numbers.

“Don’t wait check the date,” Meridian Township Fire Inspector, Tavis Millerov said. So smoke detectors, if you have them in your homes, they should have a date on the back of the detector of when it was manufactured. Those are only good for 10 years so if you check that date on the back of the smoke detectors and it is greater than 10 years old, or there’s no date on it at all, that detector should be thrown away and replaced with a new one.”

Fire officials said if you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your home, you should get one.

“It’s paramount, Millerov said. “Absolutely you should have one in your home at least one, If not two depending on how things are set up in your home. Your furnace room, mechanical things, water heaters, there should be one near there whether that’s on the first level of the home or in the basement, then have one in the basement. Absolutely there should be one in the kitchen. And I’d argue there should be one in the garage as well.

And whether you’re eight years-old or 80, Millerov said anyone can learn to use them.

“Fire extinguishers can be used from kids at a very young age, all the way up to the elderly,” Millerov said. “It’s a very simple process to understand on how to use it and how to use it properly.”

“The key word for using a fire extinguisher is P.A.S.S.

P –  is for pull the pin.

A – is for aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.

S –  is for squeeze the handle down.

S – is for sweep back and forth until the flames go out.

 

So now that you know how to use it, when should you use it?

“If you see a fire and you think, I can put that out, you’ve had the training to use a fire extinguisher, then go ahead, go for it. If you see a fire and even if you’ve had the training and for whatever reason it stops you in your tracks, or you have any doubt in your head, then don’t try and put it out, just get out and that’s when you sound the alarm and get everybody else out with you. Call 911, let us come in and handle the problem,” Millerov said.

Here’s something that’s important to look for: the expiration date. Fire extinguisher manufacturers say most fire extinguishers are good for five to 15 years. If you can’t find a date, fire officials say to check the gage that’s on most of the fire extinguishers.

If it shows green that means go you can use it; if not contact that manufacturer.

And when it comes to disposing of fire extinguishers, some of them say you can throw them out in the trash. If there is no indication on that tin, if it does not say that, fire officials say to contact the fire extinguisher manufacturer that’s on the can or you can call your local fire department.

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