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Fire extinguishers - do's and don't of use

This is the tenth article in a series which will help you prepare for a major emergency, such as an earthquake.

After the fire extinguisher has been used, replace it or have it recharged by a qualified service agency (look in the telephone directory) as soon as possible. Even a short burst will cause a complete loss of pressure in a short time.

Also remember that the life of any extinguisher is usually limited to 5 or 6 years. At that time have it recharged or replace it with a new one.

In the event of a fire, first make certain that all family members are safely out of the house and in a pre-selected location.

Call 911 from a neighbor's house. If the fire is large, don't

attempt to put it out with the extinguisher get out and close the door behind you. If the fire is small enough, use your fire extinguisher to put it out. If possible, have another person with an extinguisher work with you.

If the fire is being fueled by a broken gas pipe, do not attempt to use the fire extinguisher to put out the fire. First, shut the gas off at the main valve. With no fuel to feed it, the fire may go out unless it has spread to nearby inflammables. This is when you may need to use the fire extinguisher.

Your task this time is to learn more about fire extinguishers and how (as well as when) to use them.

If you have any questions, please refer to page 16 of your copy of the Los Altos Emergency Preparedness Manual for more information, or leave a message for the Los Altos Emergency Preparedness Committee's VEGA volunteer on the Los Altos City voice mail system (948-1491, ext. 488).

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