A fire extinguisher is a device used in emergency situations to control or extinguish small fires. It works by discharging a jet of water, foam, gas, or other material to extinguish the fire. All extinguishers at buildings and workplaces are required to be serviced and inspected annually. Stored pressure fire extinguishers are the most frequently used type. They should be used according to fire classes A, B, C, D. The user must be trained to use an extinguisher properly. Class A is used to extinguish wood, trash, clothes and paper. Class B is for oil, gasoline, and other flammable liquids. Class C is used for electricity and electronics. Class D is used to extinguish combustible metals. To choose the right class and size fire extinguisher you must identify the materials that could catch fire at your workplace. The extinguisher must be located in a place that is easy to reach with visible signs showing the location and operation instructions on or near the extinguisher. If mounted, the wall or column must be identified with a red band 8 feet above the extinguisher. It should never be place in a location where it could be damaged. The physical ability of the user should match the weight of the extinguisher. OSHA requires a visual inspection of extinguishers every month. Record keeping is not required for monthly inspections, but maintenance and yearly inspections should be recorded.
- Fire Extinguisher Safety:
- All employees who may use a fire extinguisher must be trained accordingly:
- Classes of fire
- Types of extinguishers
- Health and safety hazards
- Sounding alarms
- When and how to use the extinguisher
- Employees should practice how to use and recharge extinguishers as well as how to effectively respond to fires.
- All extinguishers must:
- Have an attached durable tag (Date of inspection, name of servicing company, signature of inspector).
- Be well supported with solid hangers.
- Be easily accessible.
- Have clear operating instructions.
- Serial numbers, type, location, date of inspections/test, and date of next inspection must be recorded.
- Inspectors must make sure the extinguisher is in good working condition, it is not damaged, the ring pin is in place, and the seal is intact.
For homes, it is best to have a multipurpose extinguisher.