Portable extinguishers are intended as a first line of defense to cope with fires of limited size. They are needed even when a facility is equipped with automatic sprinklers, standpipe and hose, or other fixed protection equipment. Fire extinguisher training is provided by contacting Environment, Health and Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The basic types of fires are Classes A, B, C, and D as defined in the following:
- Class A: Ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics;
- Class B: Flammable and combustible liquids;
- Class C: Energized electrical equipment;
- Class D: Combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, and potassium;
- Class K: Commercial kitchen fires; and
- Class ABC: Used for Class A, B, and C fires, multi-use.
Classification and Ratings of Fire Extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers are classified for use on Class A, B, C, or D fires and rated by nationally recognized testing laboratories for relative extinguishing effectiveness. The classification and rating are based upon the preceding classification of fires and the fire-extinguishment potentials as determined by fire tests.
Selection of Extinguishers
The selection of extinguishers for a given situation is determined by the character of the fires anticipated.
Distribution of Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers shall be provided for the protection of the building and for the occupancy hazard contained therein:
- Required building protection shall be provided by fire extinguishers suitable for Class A fires; and
- Protection against occupancy hazard shall be provided by fire extinguishers suitable for such Class A, B, C, or K fire potentials as may be present.
Extinguishers shall be conspicuously located where they will be readily accessible in the event of fire. They shall be located along normal paths of travel, including exits from an area. Fire protection and fire detection equipment shall not be obstructed.
Extinguishers are to be visually inspected monthly by the Environmental, Health and Safety Office.
Using a Fire Extinguisher
The following steps should be followed when responding to incipient stage fire:
- Sound the fire alarm and call the fire department, if appropriate.
- Identify a safe evacuation path before approaching the fire. Do not allow the fire, heat, or smoke to come between you and your evacuation path.
- Select the appropriate type of fire extinguisher.
- Discharge the extinguisher within its effective range using the P.A.S.S. technique (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep).
- Back away from an extinguished fire in case it flames up again.
- Evacuate immediately if the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out.
- Evacuate immediately if the fire progresses beyond the incipient stage.