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How to Choose a Suitable Fire Extinguisher for the Workplace

By July 12, 2017Fire Safety News
Fire Sprinkler Systems

Fires can spread easily and fast if not properly controlled. Fire extinguishers, just like fire sprinklers, are among the most commonly used equipment to prevent fires from spreading and getting out of control. In fact, every property owner or business needs to invest in the best fire extinguishers and ensure they meet the codes. Other than the sprinkler systems that are normally installed during construction of a building, your workplace needs a suitable fire extinguisher too. We’ll share a few tips to help you get a suitable fire extinguisher for the workplace.

Is It The Right Type For The Job?

The ideal fire extinguisher for your workplace will depend on the fire hazards in your building. What items are commonly found at your workplace that are potential fire hazards? We’ll take a look at some distinct classes of fire that will require different types of extinguishers.

Flammable liquids: In industrial buildings that handle oil, gasoline, paint, grease among other flammable liquids, a special kind of extinguisher will be required since water is incapable of putting off such fires.

Ordinary combustibles: In most workplaces, items like wood, fabric and paper are present. These substances are considered ordinary combustibles and hence a fire extinguisher that is designed to put off such fires should be chosen.

Electrical equipment: Fires can erupt due to faulty electrical appliances, poor wiring, conductors and other electrical sources. Such fires cannot be put off with simply water. A special kind of fire extinguisher will be required to put off electrical fires.

Combustible metals: If you deal with metals like sodium and magnesium in your workplace, you need to have a fire extinguisher that is designed to put off fire from combustible metals.

With that said, you need to thoroughly evaluate the needs of your workplace and determine what type of fire is likely to erupt prior to buying a fire extinguisher. Remember that the location of your fire extinguishers is also very critical. These devices are not like fire sprinkler systems that can discharge water to cover a large area. Fire extinguishers need to be placed in an area where they will remain visible and can be accessed quickly during an emergency.

Proper Maintenance Is Key

After you choose the most suitable fire extinguisher for your workplace, make a commitment to maintain the equipment as is recommended. You will be required to perform monthly inspections as well as recharging and annual inspections. What’s even more important is record keeping to keep track of all inspections as per the NFPA guidelines. While the employees can conduct the monthly inspections, you will need to hire an expert to perform annual testing and servicing.

All Employees Must Be Trained On Proper Use Of Fire Extinguishers

Training is an important aspect of fire protection that must be taken into account in all workplaces. This includes making sure all the staff know how to use the equipment and what type of extinguisher will work on which kind of fire. This information should be made available for employees to review and be well prepared in the event of an emergency.