How to choose a fire extinguisher
For most home use, purchase a portable A-B-C fire extinguisher that can be used for all three classes of fires. Class B and Class C fire extinguishers can be used on Class A fires.
If a label is missing a letter or symbol for a particular fire type, it means the fire extinguisher has not been tested for use on that type of fire. If the label shows a red slash through a letter or symbol, the fire extinguisher cannot be used at all on that type of fire.
A portable fire extinguisher can be discharged completely in as little as 8 seconds. Make sure you choose an appropriate size. The higher the size rating, the heavier the fire extinguisher. Make sure you can lift, hold and operate the fire extinguisher.
Fire extinguisher standards
- A fire extinguisher must have the seal of an independent testing laboratory.
- A fire extinguisher in a business, multi-residential building, or public building must be tested and tagged once a year by an Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) technician.
- Extinguishers need routine care. Ask the salesperson how your extinguisher should be cared for, inspected and serviced.
- Rechargeable extinguishers must be serviced after every use.
- Disposable fire extinguishers can be used once, and then must be replaced.
Where to buy fire extinguishers
Many department stores sell portable fire extinguishers. Look in the Yellow Pages under "Fire" for a list of companies that sell and service fire extinguishers. A link to the Yellow Pages online listing appears in the links at right.