Extinguisher

Updates to NFPA 10, Portable Fire Extinguishers

The National Fire Protection Association is a global nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. NFPA is widely known for its codes and standards which establish criteria for building, processing, design, service, and installation of fire protection systems. Several NFPA codes are being updated for 2017, here we will discuss some of the changes to NFPA 10, which covers Portable Fire Extinguishers.

All fire extinguishers must be given a brief visual inspection each month and a thorough annual inspection. Testing and servicing is required on a regular basis, the timing depends on the type of extinguishers you have. All fire extinguishers should be serviced or replaced after use.

 

Tamper Seals

A.7.3.2.2 was updated to say if a tamper seal is found to be missing from a non-rechargeable extinguisher, the extinguisher should be removed from service. This primarily affects extinguishers not purchased from a professional life safety company, as after the extinguisher has been used (and the tamper seal removed for use) the extinguisher will need to be disposed of and replaced. If you have rechargeable fire extinguishers and a Life Safety Partner performing regular inspections and maintenance of them, then you partner will be able to collect, service, and refill your extinguisher after use which will include replacing the tamper seal.

Wheeled Extinguisher Hoses

7.7.1 requires wheeled extinguisher hose to be uncoiled and examined on annual basis. A.7.7.1.1 updated to support rapid deployment without kinking. Your Life Safety Partner should add this to your regular annual inspections.

Extinguishers Covers and Strap-Type Brackets

Extinguisher protective covers are now specifically recommended for extinguishers susceptible to environmental damage (A.6.1.3.7). Consult your Life Safety Partner for covers or special mounting equipment, like strap type vehicle brackets.

Extinguisher Signs

Extinguishers must be installed in locations so extinguishers are visible (6.1.3.3.1). An exception (6.1.3.3.2) requires signs or other means be installed where visual obstructions can’t be avoided. Signs are to be installed in close proximity to these extinguishers, visible from path of travel. Check to make sure all of your extinguishers are properly marked.

Obsolete Extinguishers

All extinguishers manufactured before 1955 are now considered obsolete (4.4.11.4.4.1) requires all pre-1984 dry chemical stored pressure extinguishers to be replaced immediately.

 

This information is based on first and second draft revisions to the NFPA code for 2017. A1 strives to ensure the information we provide in our blogs is accurate, the information we provide is based on research and our understanding of State Fire Codes and NFPA regulations. You should always review the complete NFPA standards and local codes for where you are, as local and state requirements may differ.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds
A1 Suppression Expert

 

Server Room Fire Extinguisher

What type of fire extinguisher should I have to supplement the suppression system in my server room?

In 2006 to 2010, there were an estimated 209 reported U.S. structure fires per year that started in electronic equipment rooms. The annual, average estimated losses from fires in 2006 to 2010 include five civilian injuries, and $11.9 million in direct property damage.

While your building and server room should have fire protection in the form of sprinklers and a Clean Agent Suppression System, it is important to have a fire extinguisher near your server room to use for small fires before your Clean Agent Suppression System activates.

CO2 fire extinguishers have traditionally been used in small spaces. However, as CO2 fire extinguishers work by displacing oxygen in the space with carbon monoxide they pose a risk of asphyxiation to the user, especially in a small space such as a server room. Also, these extinguishers can create condensation which can lead to corrosion and damage to your equipment.

A better option is an extinguisher with a clean agent chemical in it, such as a Halotron Extinguisher, as this is not harmful to the user or the equipment. Clean Agent fire suppression utilizes inert gases and chemical agents to extinguish a fire. The clean agent is waterless and does not cause condensation so it is completely safe to use on electronic equipment.

Learn more about Clean Agent Suppression Systems.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Patrick Flanary
Patrick Flanary

How to Perform a Monthly Inspection of your Fire Extinguishers

Have you ever noticed that paper tag on your fire extinguishers? Flip it over! That’s for recording a monthly inspection.

All fire extinguishers are required by law to be properly inspected, tested and maintained. Fire extinguishers must be given a monthly visual inspection, an annual inspection and maintenance, and hydrostatic testing completed every 12 years.

If the proper fire extinguisher is used correctly, more than 90% of fires are extinguishable so it’s very important to make sure your extinguishers are in good working order.  The professional who conducts your annual inspections and maintenance can perform the monthly inspection (which will include checking seals and updating your online reports), or you can designate an employee to perform a more basic monthly inspection to check for repairs that would require a professional. Either way, EVERY EXTINGUISHER on the premises must be inspected EVERY MONTH according to NFPA 101(00), NFPA-10 and State of Ohio State Fire Code*.

How to perform a basic visual inspection of a Fire Extinguisher:extinguisher tag2

  1. Check that the extinguisher is in the designated place.
    (remember how far away from hazards different extinguishers should be?)
  2. Check the canister for dents or scratches.
    Anything that intrudes into the canister more than 1/16 of an inch makes it a deficient extinguisher.
  3. Check the hose for blockages.
  4. Make sure the gauge is reading in the green range.
  5. Ensure the pull pin is inserted properly.
  6. Make sure the hose is properly secured.
  7. Make sure there are no obstructions to access or visibility, and that operating instructions are facing forward.
  8. Initial and date the tag, to reflect inspection information.

If problems are found with any of the above items (dents, hose blockages, gauges not in the green range, pull pin missing, or hose cannot be properly secured to canister), call A1 as your extinguisher will need to be replaced or repaired.
For Rechargeable Extinguishers, if the following problems are found, call A1 for help as corrections or replacement of the extinguisher must be made:

  1. Safety seals are broken or missing.
  2. There is evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.
  3. Pressure gauge readings are not in the proper range or position (green).
  4. Operating instructions are not legible.
  5. Fullness cannot be confirmed by weighing or lifting.

For Nonrechargeable Extinguishers, if the following problems are found, call A1 for help as the extinguisher must be removed from use:

  1. There is evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.
  2. Pressure gauge readings are not in the proper range or position.
  3. Operating instructions are not legible.
  4. Fullness cannot be confirmed by weighing or lifting.

Note: Nonrechargeable extinguishers can be identified by markings such as “Discharge and Dispose of After Any Use,” “Discharge and Return to Manufacturer After Any Use,” or simply, “Nonrechargeable.”

 

So that’s a monthly inspection! Repeat the process for EVERY EXTINGUISHER to make sure you are compliant with State of Ohio Fire Code*.

 

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

 

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198. Check out our Workplace Fire Extinguisher Training!

 

* NFPA 101(00), Sec. 9.7.4.1 and Ohio Administrative Code 1301:7-7-09 require that portable fire extinguishers be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. In other words, all fire extinguishers are required by law to be properly inspected, tested and maintained.

Why You Need Fire Extinguisher Training in the Workplace

If the proper fire extinguisher is used correctly and promptly, more than 90% of fires are extinguishable.

Ask your employees where the nearest fire extinguisher is. Most informal polls have found that less than 25% of employees are able to locate the nearest fire extinguisher in their workplace from memory. If you could make sure you and your employees were prepared in the event of a fire, why wouldn’t you?

In addition to safety, companies that provide fire extinguisher training for their staff usually have a better insurance rating. If that’s not enough reason to hold fire extinguisher training for your workplace, check out the OSHA minimum requirement that employers provide their staff with the basic knowledge of how to use an extinguisher and the hazards of early stage fires. (Occupational Health and Safety Administration; 1910.157(g))

So, properly training your staff on fire safety keeps your employees and property safe, and keeps money in your pocket.

 

What to include in your workplace fire extinguisher training:

  1. Common fire hazards in the workplace include:

* Waste & Combustible material storage,

* Flammable liquids and vapors,

* Dust build-up in enclosed spaces with heat generating devices (think, Data Room),

* Objects that generate heat (such as electrical equipment and machinery) being left on for extended periods of time,

* Faulty electrical equipment,

* Overloading power sockets,

* Smoking (you think it won’t happen, but it did at A1 and it can at your workplace too!), and

* Human negligence.

 

  1. Selecting the proper fire extinguisher. Did you know there are different extinguishers for different areas – kitchen, data room, etc??

A – ordinary combustible; B – flammable or combustible liquids; C – electrical equipment; D – combustible metals; and K – cooking oils

  1. Where fire extinguishers should be located.

Check your workplace for the materials listed above and make sure the appropriate fire extinguisher is nearby. Dependent on the type of extinguisher, there is a specific distance it should be placed from the hazard: 75 ft. for ABC, as long as there is an extinguisher within 50 ft. of a B hazard; 50 ft for D; 30 ft for K.

  1. Review your fire escape plan in the event of a larger fire.

According to the Ohio Fire Code, your company should have a fire escape plan. If not, take a few minutes to write one down and ensure everyone knows how to respond in the event of an emergency. The Ohio Fire Code also specifies what information should be included in a company’s fire escape plan – be on the lookout for a future A1 blog on what to include (and maybe even a handy template!)

  1. How to use a fire extinguisher.

Review the P.A.S.S. method here.

Fire extinguisher training will provide your employees, as well as yourself, with a basic knowledge of how fires start, how they grow, and how to use the proper fire extinguisher in order to reduce injury, risk, and loss in the workplace.  Additionally, your company should have a properly outlined fire escape plan in the event of a larger fire that cannot be fought with extinguishers. By understanding these things, along with what fire hazards are in the workplace and where fire extinguishers are best positioned, your staff will feel confident to act accordingly in a stressful situation such as a fire.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198. Check out our Workplace Fire Extinguisher Training!

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

Extinguisher Distance Requirements

Portable extinguisher locations are dependent on both the hazards and the occupancy types. A school will experience different hazards than a doctor’s office. Translating NFPA requirements can be tricky. Here’s the code down to the safest, most basic minimums.

ABC Extinguishers
An ABC extinguisher is the most commonly used extinguisher in facilities today. These extinguishers provide coverage for areas with normal combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical fires. ABC’s are a fundamental necessity for light to ordinary hazard areas such as schools or offices. Typically, though there are small exceptions depending on extinguisher size, these extinguishers should cover a maximum of 50 ft from a hazard.

D Extinguishers
D Class portable extinguishers suppress combustible metal fires. These extinguishers must be a maximum for 75 ft from the hazard. D’s require more attention during the selection process as their size requirements are dependent on the types of combustible metals present, as well as manufacturer recommendations.

K Extinguishers
K hazards are those involving cooking oils, grease, or any other combustible cooking media. K’s must be located at a maximum of 30 ft from the hazard. I also recommend using a kitchen hood suppression system for large cooking appliances.

CO2 Extinguishers
CO2 extinguishers are used in special hazard areas consisting of equipment or processes of exceptionally high value, unique or irreplaceable assets (museums, archives, art galleries, records storage), or production is of greater value than the equipment itself. CO2’s usually accompany laboratories, mechanical rooms, fuel or battery stations, and flammable liquid storage areas. These extinguishes work by removing the oxygen that fire requires and by cooling the material that’s ablaze. CO2’s are best used for BC rated fires and are usually ineffective when used with an A rated fire. CO2’s must be located at a maximum of 75 ft from the hazard.

Clean Agent Extinguishers
Clean agent extinguishers consist of halons, halotrons and FE-36’s that leave no residue and cause no damage. Like the CO2’s extinguishers protect high-value assets such as computer rooms, telecommunications facilities, process control rooms, museums, archives, marine, hospitals, banks, laboratories, and airplanes. Clean agent extinguishers are ABC rated and must be located at a maximum of 75 ft from the hazard. As an additional note: Halon extinguishers have been discontinued due to their negative environmental effects. FE-36 extinguishers are the recommended replacement for halons.

Extinguishers require a monthly visual inspection to pinpoint any physical damage or tampering with the device. All extinguishers need an annual inspection performed by a certified professional.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

Types of Fire Extinguishers: Foam at a Closer Look

You Asked and We Heard! Here’s more on Types of Fire Extinguishers.

We’ve received quite a few requests to delve deeper into the types of fire extinguishers. If you missed our previous post, you should check out, “Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher,” for an overview of the basic extinguisher types. We will feature specifics of each type monthly, until we run out of content or you tell us to stop.

Summarizing Foam Extinguishers

Foam extinguishers come in 2 forms: aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and film-forming fluoroprotein foam (FFFP). AFFF and FFFP are appropriate choices for class A and B fires. Don’t forget, class A is for regular combustibles like paper and class B is for flammable liquids like gasoline.

When Will I Use a Foam Extinguisher?

In class A fires, the foam works as a coolant to reduce the temperatures below the ignition level. Foam extinguishers work especially well for class B fires where there are horizontal flammable liquid situations such as oil on water. The agent will float on top of the liquid, suffocating the flames and preventing reignition.

Word of Caution

Keep in mind, foam extinguishers are not suitable to use on pressurized fuel fires or cooking grease fires. Additionally, only some grades of foam extinguishers protect against water-soluble flammable liquids like alcohol. The nameplates on the extinguishers will provide more specific information.

Foam type extinguishers should not be used in freezing temperatures. NFPA 10 forbids mixing antifreeze with the foam agents, so a compliant foam extinguisher will not work in -40 degree weather. The exception to this rule is if the manufacturer provides special measures to prevent the agent from freezing.

AFFF and FFFP foam fire extinguishers present a shock hazard if used on fires involving energized electrical equipment.

Our Source

Visit the NFPA website here for even more specifics. The content in this post was taken directly from NFPA 10.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 937-859-6198.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

Kitchen Hood Systems Simplified

Cooking is the leading cause of death and destruction from fires in the U.S. Cooking fires account for $16.4 million in property damage annually. Additionally, cooking was the leading cause of fire in all healthcare facilities (nursing home, hospital, mental health facility, clinic or doctors office) according to NFPA US Structure Fires in Health Care Properties Fact Sheet (download it here). Keeping up with your required kitchen hood system inspections is an important part of protecting lives and your facility.

Kitchen hood suppression systems are designed, tested, and approved to provide fire protection for commercial kitchen cooking appliances, hoods, and ducts.

Kitchen hood systems have an efficient, automatic detector response that acts fast to suppress flames. Kitchen hood systems eliminate the need for a constant supply of the suppressing agent and manual shut off of the appliance’s gas and electric, while blocking any danger of a violent reaction that may spread flame or spill cooking oil.

Facilities that should have kitchen hood systems:

  • Gourmet Restaurants
  • Sports Complexes
  • Fast-Food Chains
  • Retail Food Courts
  • Convenience Stores
  • Hotel Kitchens
  • Diners
  • School Cafeterias
  • Food Service Kitchens

Kitchen hood systems will extinguish fires caused by the following:

  • Deep Fryers
  • Ranges
  • Griddles
  • Char-Broilers
  • Woks
  • Upright Boilers
  • Chain-Broilers
  • Filters
  • Plenum Chambers
  • Hoods
  • Ducts

How Do Kitchen Hood Systems Work?

When a fire starts in a protected area, heat sensitive links activate the kitchen hood system. The system stops the cooking appliance’s gas and electric supply. An extinguishing agent releases through nozzles and onto the appliances, plenum and duct.

At the first sign of fire, remember to evacuate the building and call 911. Stand by with a K class extinguisher just in case the system fails to act or a re-flash occurs.

Types of Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems

Wet Chemical Systems

Wet chemical systems are the most commonly used kitchen hood system. The wet chemical agent suppresses fire by cooling and reacting chemically to produce a foam layer on the grease. The foam seals combustible vapors, stopping the flames from re-igniting.

Dry Chemical Systems

Dry chemical systems were used to extinguish flammable liquid fires involving live electrical equipment. Dry chemical interrupts the chemical reaction of fire by removing the oxygen from the source. When the multipurpose dry chemical is discharged, the agent leaves a residue on the burning material. The residue seals the material from the oxygen to suffocate the fire. Unfortunately, because deep fryers are much more insulated than in the past, dry chemical systems are not capable of extinguishing kitchen fires. UL 300 Systems are recommended as a good replacement for dry chemical kitchen hood systems.

UL 300 Wet System

UL 300 systems use wet chemicals to smother the fire (like dry chems) and to prevent re-ignition by cooling the flammable liquids (unlike dry chems). The UL 300 standard represents the heightened suppression innovation to accommodate new, hotter cooking methods and is currently the most effective way to suppress a kitchen hood fire. If you are due to change your kitchen hood system soon, most states will require you to update to a UL 300 system.

Living and Caring for Your Restaurant Fire Suppression System

Have a certified kitchen hood system professional inspect your kitchen hood system every 6-months and immediately after any major hood/duct cleaning. The system should be inspected overall and tested to verify that it is fully operational. Keep in mind that menu, preparation, and layout may require an update to your system. Any updates, again, require a professional.

While a professional should service, test, inspect, recharge or repair a system, NFPA asks system owners to perform a monthly inspection. This inspection is for visible problems with the kitchen hood system.

Check the following during your monthly visual inspection:

  • The extinguishing system is in its proper location.
  • The manual actuators are unobstructed.
  • The tamper indicators and seals are intact.
  • The maintenance tag or certificate is in place.
  • No obvious physical damage or condition exists that might prevent operation.
  • The pressure gauge(s), if provided, is in operable range.
  • The nozzle blow-off caps are intact and undamaged.
  • The hood, duct, and protected cooking appliances have not been replaced, modified, or relocated.

Supplement Your Kitchen Hood System

K-Class fire extinguishers are used to protect against kitchen hazards without leaving residue. These extinguishers are a great supplement to kitchen hood systems and should be present in any commercial cooking environment.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

FIRE EXTINGUISHER TRAINING AND YOUR BUSINESS: THE BASICS

Fires are 100% preventable. Proper equipment paired with well-trained individuals can save businesses and lives. In fact, most work environments must have an emergency action plan, functioning extinguishers, and trained extinguisher operators. OSHA’s requirements vary from one environment to the next—typically depending on size, occupancy, industry, and personnel. The more flammable material present in a place, the more strict OSHA requirements become.

You Need Fire Extinguisher Training or Education

Regardless of OSHA’s required training and education minimums, it’s a good idea to make yourself and the people around you prepared for an emergency.

Three reasons to fire train your staff:

  • OSHA usually requires training or education anyway.
  • You may get a better insurance rating.
  • Your staff will be well prepared in the event of a fire.

Fire Extinguisher Training vs Fire Education

Do you need either extinguisher training or fire education? The difference lies in the amount of hands on learning that takes place. Training includes supplementing the normal safety protocol information with real, hands on, extinguisher practice. Education is simply providing your staff with information about proper safety procedures and protocol—no hands on extinguisher practice included.

How do you know you are giving your staff the best knowledge for their position in the company? The answer lies in who is allowed to use an extinguisher. An employee that is included in your emergency action plan as an extinguisher operator must receive training. All other employees that are not designated extinguisher operators will only need extinguisher education.

OSHA Extinguisher Training
Guide to OSHA Extinguisher Training Requirements

Where You Can Find Fire Extinguisher Training

Schools and other government organizations can have their local fire department train or educate their staff. All other companies will need to pay a certified trainer. To book training or for more information, click here.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. For training or a personal evaluation please call us at 937-859-6198. For more information, visit us at www.a1ssi.com.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

Does Your Extinguisher Comply?

Check the Extinguisher Expiration Date

Many extinguishers have an expiration date. Between changing safety standards and obsolete technology, extinguisher expiration is not cut and dry. An expired extinguisher does not comply with NFPA code. The first test is the 1955 rule: all extinguishers manufactured before 1955 are obsolete. The safety powers-that-be have determined which types and corresponding years require an extinguisher to be removed from service. If your extinguisher is from 1984 or before, you’ll need to check its type to make an informed decision about the expiration. Double check with your certified professional about any extinguishers manufactured from 1955 to 1984. Here’s a guide to some of the years and types to look out for.

Comply

Extinguishers to Replace
To replace an extinguisher or not? Old, banned technology and defective units must also be removed from service. Some extinguishing chemicals that were once widely used have been banned. In addition, any damaged extinguishers must be removed from service. Here’s a list of what you don’t want in your extinguishers.

ExtinguisherObsolescence

 

So, What Now?
If your extinguishers are no longer compliant, a certified professional must  replace the equipment. If you need an extinguisher professional, you can connect to one here.

Once your equipment is up to par, you’ll probably need to be trained to use the equipment. Click here to learn about extinguisher training. Until then, click here to review of what to do.

 

Please note, while this post may be very informative, every case is individual. We recommend discussing your needs with a certified professional. You have everything to gain and little to lose with a quick, free call or email. Click here to contact a certified extinguisher professional now.

 

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

Using the PASS Method with Your Extinguisher

What Does P.A.S.S. Stand For?

If you have a fire extinguisher and are unfamiliar with PASS, you’ll probably need training before you use the equipment.

Click here to learn about extinguisher training. Until then, here’s a quick review of what to do:
PASS

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds