What do fire extinguishers, hard-to-find phone numbers and handy dandy cleaning tools have in common? Nothing other than the subject lines of three messages that recently washed up in my email box!
Dear Mary: Your recent column on fire extinguishers and the P.A.S.S. system got me thinking about my home fire extinguisher. Like yours, mine has been there so long it’s blending in with the decor and that prompted my question: Do fire extinguishers expire? How can I know it is still good? When should I replace? Janine
Dear Janine: Fire extinguishers do not have an infinite lifespan. They will expire. The typical portable extinguisher that has not been opened remains in good condition between 5 to 15 years. But you don’t have to guess or wonder if it’s fully charged and ready to go. Look for the pressure gauge on the extinguisher itself. Check to make sure the needle on the gauge is in the green zone. That indicates that it is still good. Once that needle moves into the red zone it should be replaced or recharged. (Small extinguishers for home use are often “single-use” products and cannot be recharged.)
During a recharge, the extinguisher service company will completely refill the extinguisher and check to make sure it is holding proper pressure. This process should not take longer than 10 to 20 minutes and can commonly be done at local fire stations or through private service companies. Keep in mind that it may be more cost efficient to purchase a new extinguisher if the one you have is for household usage. By the time the recharge has been done, the new one could be the same price if not cheaper.
Dear Mary: I’ve realized over the past few years that it’s a total pain and annoyance trying to find information about local county resources I’m trying to contact. If I’m trying to find a phone number or address to direct a concern that I have, I often find myself tumbling through Google search results one by one before either finding the wrong number, or navigating through a maze of local government sites, which are confusing. Most offices have their own website which is hard to find or filled with contact details that are not updated! I call a number and then end up hearing the dreaded no-longer-in-service message.
The website courtsystem.org seems to have a complete database of listings for all emergency, legal and law enforcement government offices in the country including working phone numbers, county by county. I wanted to share the site because it has saved me a few headaches and I’m sure it would be useful to others as well. Sherry
Dear Sherry: Great find! I went to the site, clicked on my state and then my county and you’re right! With only two clicks I found contact information. Thanks for letting us know about the free and useful website.
UPDATE: It appears that CourtSystem.org, while a free site that links to a lot of very useful information, is riddled with ads. These ads, which make it appear that you must pay a fee to perform a search, are cleverly embedded into the site so as to make the ads not appear as ads! Very deceitful. As I used and tested this site, I have my ad-blocker enabled, which means I never saw the ads. They are blocked for me. ADVICE: There is a simple way you can use this site without paying or even giving your email address. Make sure you have installed an ad-blocker before attempting to use CourtSystem.org. Rest assured that the site itself remains very useful and is completely FREE. If you see something else you do not have an active ad-blocker; you’re being manipulated. I use AdBlockPlus, which is free. There are others, so make sure you find one that is compatible with whichever web browser you are using. -mh
Dear Mary: I have followed your column for years, first in the newspaper and then online. Your advice is invaluable and I am grateful for all your tips, your commonsense outlook and generous spirit. Please continue this column; what you do is unique.
I recently bought this vacuum hose adapter and was very pleased to find it sturdy enough for real work and extremely handy. I’ve finally been able to reach into my dryer, my bathroom ceiling fan and other nooks and crannies which have always proved a headache to clean. Used with your beloved Shark vacuum, I’m pretty sure you and other Shark fans will discover VaccuFlex vacuum attachment is a worthy tool, able to tackle the most difficult corners and crevices. Robin
Dear Robin: Another great find! When I got your message, I ordered this Vaccuflex vacuum attachment kit online so I could test it myself. With Prime shipping I got it the next day. My clothes dryer has never been so clean. Couldn’t believe all the lint I pulled out of that area behind the lint trap. Now I am thinking about so many other places this is going to come in handy. Thanks a million!
- Court System Website
- Vaccuflex Vacuum Attachment Kit
- Kidde Twin Pack Fire Extinguishers (1 each multi purpose and kitchen)
- Kidde Multi-Purpose Fire Extinguisher