A vital piece of equipment

Having a fire extinguisher made all the difference

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home?

Or are you like me, who thought,’Why would I ever need one? Is a fire really going to break out in my house?’

Thankfully, my wife Karm is smarter than I am.

A few months ago, she went out and purchased a fire extinguisher.

While theoretically it makes sense to have one in every home, the reality is, not everyone does.

It is not even required for a residential home to have a fire extinguisher.

But perhaps it should be.

My wake up call came two weeks ago, when a fire broke out in the ensuite of the master bedroom of my home.

It was midweek, and I was on holidays from work.

Both my mom and I smelled some smoke, but on a hot summer day with the windows open, we just thought it was wafting in from outside.

At one point, my mom even checked the downstairs basement suite because she knew the tenant was at work.

It wasn’t until about 20 minutes later when I opened the door to my bedroom and was met with a rush of smoke — the acrid scent filling my nostrils, my eyes burning.

With the door open, the hallway smoke alarm began blasting out its shrill warning.

While the sequence of what followed is still hazy — all I know is that the adrenaline kicked in and took over my body — I managed to get my parents, two kids, nephew and a visiting uncle out of the house.

After a call to 911, I took the fire extinguisher and put out the fire which had ravaged the toilet, which was set ablaze after the washroom’s electric ceiling fan seized up.

The bathroom was destroyed.

But the damage wasn’t confined to the porcelain throne. Our bedroom walls had to be repainted, the clothes in the room also had to be cleaned and some large fans were needed to remove the smokey odour lingering throughout the house.

Was the damage inconvenient and not a fun way to spend the remainder of my holidays?

Absolutely.

But the alternative, the loss of our home and all its contents, or far worse, having something happen to one of my family members? I would take smoke damage any day of the week.

Who knows what the consequences might have been had we not had the fire extinguisher. I’m certainly glad that I did not have to find that out.

For me, the moral of the story is simple: every home should have a fire extinguisher.

•••

When using a fire extinguisher, always remember PASS:

Pull the pin;

Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire;

Squeeze or press the handle;

Sweep from side-to-side at the base of the fire and discharge the contents of the extinguisher.

It is also important to note that after  a fire extinguisher, is used it needs to be professionally serviced.

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