While relatively small, fire extinguishers are very effective tools when used correctly and worth the investment. Make sure to position them throughout your business and make them easily accessible. You will also want to have them inspected regularly to ensure they are in working condition, which pays off in the long run if a small fire were to happen on your premises.
The most common fire extinguishers are the A-B-C type, which can extinguish all fires, including combustible materials, electrical, and flammable liquids. Washington state’s fire extinguisher requirements specify the number of extinguishers and distance apart based on building size and environment. You should verify your local code requirements regarding quantity, accessibility, and placement height.
If you experience a small fire in your workplace and need to use a fire extinguisher, the P.A.S.S. system is an effective way to extinguish it: P-pulling the pin; A-aim at the base of the fire; S-squeeze the handle; and S-sweep side to side. Additional information can be found at RS SafetyTV or in the RS Safety Library. SAFEME has a quick training module.
It is vitally important to include this information in your new hire orientation. We hope you never need to use a fire extinguisher, but it is best to be prepared just in case!
Be aware that L&I requires monthly fire extinguisher inspections. You must keep a log of the date and which extinguisher was checked, which can be kept in your safety binder. Check the pressure gauge, trigger handle, hose, and overall tank condition. If any part is damaged, replace it immediately.
Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members with safety. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].