Having a fire extinguisher in your building is not only for code compliance or to fulfill an insurance requirement; it’s part of your responsibility as a facility manager or building owner to protect lives and property. When choosing a fire extinguisher that’s suitable for your business, one of the key considerations is its size rating.
Investing in a proper fire suppression system and sprinklers can help the occupants of a building to fight fires and prevent it from spreading. Fire extinguishers are designed to fight incipient stage fires. Building occupants should be trained on how to use them to prevent small fires from spreading in incidents where it can be easily contained. These extinguishers come in many sizes and choosing the right size for your business is important.
Check the fire extinguisher size ratings
Class A and Class B fire extinguishers are rated for the size of fire that they can extinguish. The rating is denoted as a number from 1 to 40 for Class A fires. For Class B fires, the rating is expressed from 1 to 640. Higher numbers generally mean that the extinguisher can put off a larger fire. You’ll notice the number increases as the size of the extinguisher also increases because larger fires often require more extinguishing agent to put off.
Consider the potential fire risks
Different businesses face varying fire hazards. When deciding on a fire extinguisher, keep in mind the fire risks in your building. The size and type of extinguisher you eventually settle for will depend on the type of fire that’s likely to occur in the building. For instance, if you’re looking for a fire extinguisher for a room that stores hazardous materials, you shouldn’t go for standard Class A or Class B extinguishers.
Consider the size of the room
An average sized room with combustible materials has different fire extinguisher needs than a commercial space with a larger fuel load and a lot more room for a fire to spread. The former may require a 5-pound fire extinguisher whereas the commercial space may need the 30-pound unit. The size of the room and fuel load will determine the size of extinguisher to buy.
What’s ideal for the occupants of the building/employees?
You need to think of the size of fire extinguisher that’s ideal for your users. For instance, if you’re looking for a fire extinguisher for your organization, choose a universal size that all employees are capable of lifting and using. If the unit is too heavy or bulky, you could create a dangerous situation in case a fire strikes. 5-pound fire extinguishers can be used by most able-bodied people and are best suited for employees.
The best part regarding choosing a fire extinguisher is that you don’t need to make this decision on your own. There are fire extinguisher companies that help businesses who struggle to make this important decision. Request for a fire risk assessment in your building and you’ll receive advice and guidance on your fire protection needs.