Fire extinguishers are an important part of your facility's fire safety preparedness and are often your first line of defense when a small fire starts. Fire extinguishers should be easy to locate and readily accessible throughout your facility. But don't just install them — you need to train staff on how to successfully use fire extinguishers.
Fire extinguishers feature pressurized contents, so even if just a small amount is used, the fire extinguisher must be replaced or refilled. Fire extinguishers are available in two types — nonrechargeable and rechargeable.
Nonrechargeable fire extinguishers are disposable and intended for one-time use. Never attempt to re use or test a nonrechargeable fire extinguisher.
Rechargeable fire extinguishers must be recharged after every use or when pressure is lost. Recharging a fire extinguisher should only be performed by a certified technician or company. Facililties with several fire extinguishers may find rechargeable extinguishers are more cost-effective than nonrechargeable ones.
Fire extinguishers are labeled for the type of fire they will extinguish. Look for the appropriate labels on the cylinder of the fire extinguisher and install fire extinguishers based on the type of fire you would anticipate in a particular area.
|Class A||Put out fires from common combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and most plastics|
|Class B||Extinguish fires from flammable liquids including gas, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paints, solvents, and flammable gases|
|Class C||Suitable for fires involving appliances, computers, fuse boxes, and other electrical equipment|
|Class D||Designed for use on flammable metals|
|Class K||For fires involving combustible cooking fluids such as oils and fats|
Most small, contained fires can be quickly and safely put out with a fire extinguisher. To successfully operate a fire extinguisher, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests keeping a safe distance and remembering the word PASS:
P — Pull the pin and aim nozzle away from you
A — Aim low at the base of the fire
S — Squeeze the handle slowly and evenly
S — Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire is out
If you doubt your ability to fight a fire using the fire extinguisher with the PASS method or if fire starts to spread, evacuate immediately and call 911.
OSHA requires fire extinguishers be located within a specific distance of potential fire hazards for maximum effectiveness. Learn More About OSHA's Requirements on Specific Placement
OSHA requirements state that fire extinguishers must remain fully charged and in their designated storage area when not in use. Fire extinguisher cabinets are the perfect storage solution, designed to hold all types of fire extinguishers while keeping them highly visible and easily accessible.
Regular inspections and routine fire extinguisher maintenance ensure fire extinguishers are ready when needed. Every month, make sure:
NOTE: This information is a summary interpretation and was prepared as general reference material only. This summary is not authoritative as laws can be amended over time. For specific compliance requirements and updates, please refer to the actual code language and the statute or legal counsel.