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Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6CALIFORNIA LIFE


An important tool in home fire protection is a fire extinguisher. Your home may have one, but do you know how to use it?

Today wraps up National Fire Prevention Week, making this an ideal time to review some fire extinguisher basics.

A portable fire extinguisher can contain a small fire and keep it from getting out of control. But a typical extinguisher contains less than 20 seconds of firefighting power. To make sure it has its maximum power, an extinguisher must be recharged after every use.

Here are more tips from the National Fire Protection Association and home safety expert First Alert:

• Every home should have at least one extinguisher, but more is better. Keep them handy in the kitchen, garage and workshop – anywhere with the potential for sparks or combustion.

• Extinguishers should be stored in plain view and be easily accessible.

• Make sure family members know where the extinguishers are and how to use them.

• To keep the chemical inside the extinguisher from becoming solid, shake it several times a year.

• Fire extinguishers are rated by the type of fire they're designed to put out.

Class A fires include paper, wood, fabric and most plastics. Class B fires include burnable liquids such as grease, oil and gasoline. Class C fires include most electrical fires. Class D fires involve industrial metals.

Ideally, homes need "ABC" extinguishers with a "2A:10-B:C" rating, available at most hardware or home improvement stores.

• To operate the extinguisher, remember to "PASS" – pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. Pull the pin with the nozzle pointed away from you. Aim at the base of the flames, holding the extinguisher vertically – never horizontally. Squeeze the handle fully to release the flame suppressant. Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

• Never try to fight a fire if you have doubts about your ability to quickly extinguish it. Call 911.

For more tips, click on or


• Trim spent flowers from rosebushes to coax one more round of blooms. You'll have fresh bouquets for your Thanksgiving table.

• Dig up corms and tubers of gladioluses, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

• Plant spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and Dutch iris. Add bone meal to the beds for larger blooms and stronger stems.

• Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

• Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas. Plant garlic and onions.

• Watch out for snails. Hand-pick them off plants when they come out at nightfall.

– Debbie Arrington

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