Only use fire extinguishers if you have been trained, and then only use on small fires. Remember, if attempting to fight a fire, always leave yourself a way out. Never attempt to fight a bigger fire, just close doors on your way out and evacuate the building. Property can be replaced, human life cannot.
Fire Extinguisher Classes
- Class A – ordinary combustibles (wood and paper)
- Class B – flammable liquids (oil and fuel)
- Class C – energized electrical equipment
- Class D – metals
- Class K – kitchen oil and grease
Extinguisher Storage, Placement, and Inspection
- Have all fire extinguishers inspected annually by an authorized inspector.
- In-house inspections should be done monthly.
- If an extinguisher has been deployed, take it out of rotation until it has been recharged.
- Keep a clear access to all fire extinguishers.
- National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires that someone should be able to walk no more than 50 to 75 feet to access a fire extinguisher, depending on the fire class. Check NFPA requirements or your local fire inspector.
- Post signage stating where fire extinguishers are located.
Using Fire Extinguishers
- Train employees on the proper use of fire extinguishers and to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Never turn your back on a fire.
- Use the PASS method of fire extinguishment
- Pull the safety pin on the extinguisher
- Aim the hose and nozzle at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the handle to spray the extinguishing agent
- Sweep the extinguishing agent into the base of the fire
Make sure employees know to not attempt to approach any dangerous fires, no matter how small, including near flammable liquids or gases or near any explosives (propane tanks, etc.). Be sure to train all employees on:
- Fire types and the possibilities of different types of fires within your facility
- When and how to evacuate safely
- When it is safe to attempt to fight a small fire
- Location of all extinguishers
- Notification procedures, such as calling 911 and pulling fire alarms
- The safe and proper use of fire extinguishers
- How to prevent fire by knowing the fire tetrahedron—proper storage of flammables, explosives, oily rags, etc.—and identifying ignition sources
Please refer to OSHA and NFPA for further guidelines and requirements.