how to use a fire extinguisher
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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!)
- How to use a fire extinguisher.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Determining if your extinguishers are compliant can be confusing. Fear not, here’s the breakdown to clarify the basics.
Choosing your Extinguisher: Step One
Not all extinguishers are created equal. Extinguishers serve different purposes. You may have noticed letters and color codes on your equipment. What does it all mean? More importantly, are your extinguishers the best choice for the area they are serving?
The first step is to survey the location in question. Peek into your crystal ball and inventory all potential hazards. Note substances or equipment that will burn. This information will determine the classification of extinguisher you will need.
The Extinguisher Alphabet?
Extinguishers are classified based on the hazard type. Classifications are A, B, C, D, K.
ABC is the most commonly used extinguisher and will serve most areas well. In certain instances however, an ABC extinguisher is insufficient. These cases may require a less common classification such as a D or K. In ever rarer cases, a more specific extinguisher may be required, i.e. a magnetic area requires a non-conductive extinguisher.
Choosing your Extinguisher: Step Two
The second step is to inventory your equipment and surroundings. Extinguishers hold different suppression agents—some of which leave moisture or a mess. You wouldn’t put a foam extinguisher in a data room. The foam would destroy the servers in the process of smothering the fire. On the other hand, a carbon dioxide extinguisher would be ineffective in an outdoor area. One gust of wind and the fire would have enough oxygen to keep burning.
The most common types of extinguishers are as follows:
Water-Only use these on class A fires. Honestly, in most cases a water extinguisher is probably not a smart investment.
Dry Chemical-These work great for A, B, and C class fires. They leave a non-flammable substance behind to keep the fire from reigniting. They will make a mess so avoid using these in data rooms or computer labs.
Carbon Dioxide-Use these on B or C fires. They are great for extinguishing electronics without harming them, and leave no mess. They are not as effective for the outdoors.
The extinguishers listed above are not the only ones available, and you may be in a position to have a more robust extinguisher on site.
If you need an extinguisher professional now, you can connect to one here.
If your equipment is up to code, you’ll probably need to be trained to use the equipment. Click here to learn about extinguisher training.