Fires can happen anywhere and anytime. It is important to know how to contain and extinguish the fire when it does happen. Fire extinguishers help minimize fire damage and increase fire protection. When at work or in any new building, we pass by the extinguishers, not recognizing the importance of noting where they are. Fire extinguishers should be put in places where it is easy to access, and easy to reach. Here are some things to keep in mind next time you decide your fire extinguisher placement.
Fire Extinguisher Placement
OSHA has provided some general guidelines about fire extinguishers placement and those are to always keep fire extinguishers in an area where they are readily accessible, provide only approved portable extinguishers, maintain extinguishers and their charge, and keep in designated spaces.
If you cannot visibly place a fire extinguisher, signs that point to the location of the fire extinguisher is necessary. If you feel that keeping a fire extinguisher out in the open may be used for the wrong reason, you can put it in a case where in the event of a fire, someone could break the glass and still have access to the fire extinguisher.
The NFPA and OSHA have created guidelines of fire classes so that the correct extinguisher can be placed to put out the fire. There are five primary classes of fire. These guideline wills help determine the location of where the fire extinguisher should go.
Fire Extinguisher Classes
These classes help decide where each fire extinguisher should be placed. OSHA has provided a guide on the fire extinguisher type needed for each case.
- Class A – Suitable for combustible materials such as paper, wood, cloth, rubber, or a variety of plastics.
- Class B – Flammable and combustible liquids, gases, oil, paints, or alcohols.
- Class C – Live electrical equipment such as appliances, or power tools.
- Class D – Metals such as magnesium, titanium, sodium, and potassium.
- Class K – Combustible cooking liquids.
When training employees, it’s important to teach them how to read the fire extinguisher tag so they can identify the class as well.
Distance of Fire Extinguisher
How far the fire extinguisher is from the area of the fire is also important and also varies by class.
Class A fire extinguishers should be 75 feet or less. Class B extinguishers should be 30 to 50 feet. Class C could use the guidelines of class A or class B.
Class D should have a travel distance of 75 feet or less from the combustible metal. Class K should have a travel distance of 30 feet or less from the potential area of the fire.
Key Takeaways of Fire Extinguisher Placement
When determining fire extinguisher placements, some key factors to keep in mind is to always follow the guidelines of OSHA and the NFPA. Fire extinguishers should be easy to see and easy to reach. The safety of the employees or guests should be the priority.
When training new employees, it is important to go over fire safety within the workplace and point out the location of fire exits and fire extinguishers. A common mistake is not going over fire protection.
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