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Fire Extinguisher 101: Fire Chief Says Keep Device In Plain View, Act Quickly, Remember To 'PASS'

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Experts agree all homes should have at least two fire extinguishers, but does yours work and do you even know how to use it?

KDKA-TV's Susan Koeppen went to the Allegheny County Fire Academy to get a lesson in Fire Extinguisher 101.

First, your fire extinguishers should be stored in plain view so you know where to find them in an emergency. The kitchen and garage are two good places to put your fire extinguishers.

In the event of a fire, you should always call 911 and get everyone out of the house before you attempt to put it out yourself.

According to Chief Matt Brown, head of Allegheny County's Department of Emergency Services, "You should only attempt to put out small fires, like a small grease fire. If it's too big, you just need to get out."

Remember the word PASS - Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle, Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Aiming too high or too low can just waste the substance inside the fire extinguisher, and it's important that you don't aim and plunge too deep, either.

"That will just spread the fire everywhere when you splash it," says Brown.

Make sure your fire extinguisher is fully charged, and the arrow on the gauge is in the green.

A fire extinguisher should be part of your fire response plan, but you should always have an escape plan.

Chief Brown says in 2016, three of the 17 fatal fires in Allegheny County involved someone who had tried to fight the fire on their own.

"We could see evidence of attempts to put out the fire, attempts to return to the fire, when they should have just vacated the house. It cost them their lives," he said.

Home fire extinguishers should last 10 years. They cost roughly $20.

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