Almost all workplaces have portable fire extinguishers, but are they properly stored to be readily available in case of a fire? Fire extinguisher storage is important to ensure they’re in good working order. The unit must be placed properly and safely to provide the protection needed during a fire hazard.
Choosing the right fire extinguisher location
This is an important aspect that is governed by certain best practices. There are guidelines that dictate the best location and distance requirements for fire extinguishers at the workplace. Most of the time, it depends on the size of the area as well as the type of unit and fire hazard that is likely to occur in the building. We’ll share some general guidelines below:
- Ensure you invest in the right type of fire extinguisher for different areas of the building. For instance, areas like the server rooms need extinguishers, which can be used on electrical equipment.
- Check the local code for guidelines such as the maximum travel distance required. This dictates how far a person would need to travel to reach an extinguisher. The travel distance varies depending on the type of fire extinguisher as well as the hazard.
- Ares that are at very high risk of fire hazards must be given proper attention.
Storing fire extinguishers in different temperatures
Fire extinguishers must be stored in the right position and temperature. Even though the latest advancements have ensured fire extinguishers perform optimally in a wide temperature range, proper storage is key to guarantee effectiveness at the time of use. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation for the temperature range that’s safe for storing the unit.
When the fire extinguisher is stored in very low temperatures, there’s a high risk of freezing which can cause the valve or hose to crack resulting in low pressure. You may have to call a technician for a fire extinguisher refill more frequently because of poor storage.
The angle of storage is also important as it prevents the contents from leaking. The extinguisher should be properly mounted with the right brackets, which ensure it’s easy to access.
Accessibility and visibility are key
Fire extinguishers need to be stored in a location where they’re readily accessible and visible for them to come in handy during a fire hazard. A few rules to ensure visibility and accessibility of the fire extinguishers in your workplace include:
- Avoid placing obstructions near the fire extinguishers
- Keep the area near the unit clean
- Mount the unit in such a way that it can’t be easily damaged or removed
- The unit should be mounted between 3.5 to 5 feet from the floor to ensure people with different heights can access it.
- Make sure the label, signs or any other means of identification are installed above the portable unit.
- Mount the sign of the unit high enough to avoid obstruction by the equipment.
- Use a removable cover to protect the unit in dirty worksites
Fire extinguishers are a critical part of safety at the workplace. Proper storage ensures that they are in good working order in case of a fire.