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.
Different Types of 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.
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 Extinguisher Labels
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.
Put out fires from common combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and most plastics
Extinguish fires from flammable liquids including gas, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paints, solvents, and flammable gases
Suitable for fires involving appliances, computers, fuse boxes, and other electrical equipment
Designed for use on flammable metals
For fires involving combustible cooking fluids such as oils and fats
How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
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 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:
Pressure is at the recommended level, usually indicated by the "green" area on the gauge
Access to the extinguisher isn't blocked
The spray nozzle isn't jammed
The pin and seal are still intact
There are no dents, rust, or signs of tampering or abuse
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.