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HOM Taking the next step in preparedness

Q:I've installed new smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector in my house. Now, I want to buy a fire extinguisher for the kitchen. What should I look for? What does "ABC" stand for? What's a "K"?

A:ABC ratings refer to the types of fires one may encounter. Class A fires are ordinary combustibles like wood, rubber, cloth, paper, plastic, etc. Water would be a Class A extinguishing agent. Class B fires are flammable combustibles like gasoline, oil, grease, tar, lacquer and oil-based products. Burning grease in a fry pan on the stove top would be a classic example. Using a Class A-rated extinguisher would tend to spread the fire rather than putting it out. Oil and water don't mix. Class C fires are electrical. Wiring, machinery and appliances would fall into this category. It would be hazardous to pour water on a electrical fire so forget Class A. There are also Class D and Class K fire extinguishers but they are specialty devices for specific commercial applications. Class D extinguishers are designed for combustible metal fires and Class K extinguishers for kitchen fires, mainly grease fires. Your best bet is probably an ABC extinguisher large enough to give you a fighting chance if, God forbid, you need it. ------------ A woman called and said she couldn't find vinyl patching cement to do a step repair. I gave her the wrong information and didn't write down her name so I could call her back. I told her that I wasn't sure but thought the brand was Quikrete and should be available at any home center. However, looking at the patching compound sack in the garage reveals that the product I last used is Stone Mason Vinyl Cement Patch. However, Quikrete brand also makes a vinyl patcher. Menards carries the product in its paint department. If you have a question or comment, send to About the House, 18 First Ave. S.E., Rochester MN 55904. Or e-mail questions to Jerry Reising at reising@postbulletin.com. You also may call 285-7739.

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