Fire Extinguishers

Fire is among the deadliest workplace hazards but is the most preventable of accidents.  Due to the serious danger of fire, it is beneficial to know what to do should a fire erupt. Most fires start small. Fires can usually be contained if they are attacked by properly trained personnel with the right type and size of fire extinguisher within the first two minutes. Get out immediately if a fire starts to spread or block exit routes.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

  • Water - Filled with water and pressurized air extinguishing agent. 
  • Carbon Dioxide - Contains a non-flammable gas extinguishing agent.
  • Dry Chemical – Multipurpose - contains a dry powder extinguishing agent.

Types of Fires

extinguishers

  • CLASS A: Class A fires involve common combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, trash and plastics. They are common in typical commercial and home settings, but can occur anywhere these types of materials are found.
  • CLASS B: Class B fires involve flammable liquids, gases, solvents, oil, gasoline, paint, lacquers, tars and other synthetic or oil-based products. Class B fires often spread rapidly and, unless properly secured, can re-flash after the flames are extinguished.
  • CLASS C: Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment, such as wiring, controls, motors, data processing panels or appliances. They can be caused by a spark, power surge or short circuit and typically occur in locations that are difficult to reach and see.
  • CLASS D: Class D fires involve combustible metals such as magnesium and sodium. Combustible metal fires are unique industrial hazards which require special dry powder agents found in dry chemical fire extinguishers.
  • CLASS K: Class K fires involve combustible cooking media such as oils and grease commonly found in commercial kitchens. The new cooking media formulations used for commercial food preparation require a special wet chemical extinguishing agent that is especially suited for extinguishing and suppressing these extremely hot fires that have the ability to re-flash.

Fire Extinguishers Essentials

  • All fire extinguishers should be inspected monthly by a responsible person.
  • All fire extinguishers should be serviced by a qualified technician on a yearly basis.
  • Fire extinguishers have operating instructions listed in the name plate; be familiar with these.
  • Fire extinguishers of the proper type and size for the exposure shall be readily available.
  • Be familiar with the location of fire extinguishers on the job site.
  • When fueling equipment, always have a fire extinguisher close by. 

Most fire extinguishers operate using the P.A.S.S. method:

  • P – Pull the locking pin.
  • A – Aim at the base of the flames.
  • S – Squeeze the handle.
  • S – Sweep back and forth over the burning area.

Do:

  • Do know the locations of extinguishers on the job site.
  • Do familiarize yourself with the types of fire and what to use for each.
  • Do remember the P.A.S.S. method for fire extinguishers.
  • Do identify a safe evacuation path before approaching the fire.
  • Do evacuate immediately if you have any doubt about your ability to fight a fire.

Do Not:

  • Do not use water agents on grease and oil fires or use dry chemical extinguishers on electrical devices or anything with metal because it is corrosive.
  • Do not aim at the flames of the fire.
  • Do not stand too close to the fire or even plan to walk on those extinguished areas.
  • Do not put extinguishers in areas where fire is most likely to happen making them unreachable.
  • Do not leave extinguishers in corridors or on anything that is highly magnetic.
  • Do not play with the device or even play with its substances because of the possibility of injuring yourself.
  • Do not block access to fire extinguishers.

Table fire