Posted by Verna Wong

Gina Cali of the Santa Clara County Fire Department spoke about home fire safety. Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires. Here are some key points:

1.    Splatter guards are recommended to protect against cooking fires. 

2.     Fires need fuel, heat, and oxygen to burn. 

3.    Every second, the fire doubles once it ignites. 

4.     The most common cause of death in a fire is death by the inhalation of toxic gases as you are inhaling the smoke from the fire.

5.     Use a glass or metal object to suffocate the fire. 

6.    The response time for a fire unit to arrive is 4-8 minutes. 

There are four different types of fires:

A - Ordinary combustibles, including paper, wood, cloth, rubber and many plastics

B - Flammable liquids, including oils, gasoline, grease, solvents, lacquers and some paints

C - Energized electrical equipment, or electrical sources which are still supplied with power

K - Cooking oils, including vegetable or animal oils and fats

Fire extinguishers display letters and/or symbols that indicate the types of fires they can effectively extinguish. Common types of fire extinguishers include the following:

Multipurpose (ABC) Dry Chemical - These contain an ammonium phosphate base which can be used on all types of fires.

Wet Chemical (K) - This is the ideal choice for use on cooking appliances. They contain a low PH potassium acetate base. The extinguishing agent discharges as a fine mist.

Clean Agents - Clean agent fire extinguishers do not leave a residue and are rated ABC or BC. Because of environmental concerns, fire extinguishing clean agents known as halocarbons are now the recommended alternative.

Carbon Dioxide - Carbon dioxide extinguishers may be used on most mechanical and electrical fires. They are less effective on ordinary combustible (class A) fires.

Pressurized Water - These extinguishers are designed for use on ordinary combustible (class A) fires only. These extinguishers should not be used on flammable liquid and energized electrical equipment fires. 

If you are attempting to put out a small fire, remember the acronym P.A.S.S:

Pull the pin.

Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handle.

Sweep from side to side.

One extinguisher will last for 20 seconds.

Heating and Electrical Safety:

1.    Don’t overload outlooks.

2.    Use surge protectors.

3.    Small extension cords should only be used for small appliances and not be used to attach onto another extension cord.

4.     Replace the furnace filters annually.

5.     Remove the lint from the dryer.

6.    Keep space heaters at least three feet away from combustibles.