Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers – Types and Uses

Goals:          This safety session should teach employees to:

Know how to select the right fire extinguisher for a fire.
Know how and when to use a fire extinguisher.

Applicable Regulations: 29 CFR 1910.157

  1. OSHA Requires Most Employers to Have and Maintain Fire Extinguishers
    • Approved, fully charged, operable extinguishers must be placed and identified, so employees can reach them easily.
    • Extinguishers must be visually inspected monthly and tested at least yearly to be sure they're working properly.
    • Our fire extinguishers are located... [List locations].

  2. Use Fire Extinguishers Only on Small, Contained Fires
    • If in doubt, sound alarm, evacuate properly, and let trained firefighters handle it.

  3. Use Class A Extinguishers on Fires of Ordinary Combustibles
    They wet down and cool fires involving paper, cloth, trash, wood, etc.
    • Class A extinguisher numbers (1-A, 2-A, etc.) indicate the size fire each can handle.
      -    The higher the number, the larger the fire area it can handle.
      ·    OSHA requires Class A's to be no more than 75 feet from the area of likely use.
      4.  Use Class B Extinguishers on Fires Involving Gases or Flammable Liquids
      They cut off oxygen to, or reduce flame in, fires involving combustibles such as grease, oil, paint, solvents.
      ·    Class B extinguisher numbers (5-B,10-B) tell how many square feet each can handle.
      ·    OSHA requires Class B's to be no more than 50 feet from the area of likely use.
      5.  Use Class C Extinguishers on Fires on or Near Electrical Equipment
      They use carbon dioxide or a dry chemical to put out these fires.
      ·    Never use water on an electrical fire. Water conducts electricity and could cause a dangerous shock to the person holding the extinguisher.
      ·    Class C's don't have numbers
      6.  Use ABC or BC Extinguishers on Combination Fires
      The letters identify the type of fire they can handle.

7.  Use Class D Extinguishers on Combustible Metal Fires
They're used on sodium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, powdered aluminum, titanium, and other combustible metal fires.
·    They must be within 75 feet of operations that generate combustible metal powders, flakes, or shavings.
·    Class D's are considered "special hazard" protection and have no numbers.
8.  Use Extinguishers Properly
If you feel a fire is small enough to handle with an extinguisher:
·    Pull the pin.
·    Stand about 8 feet from the fire.
·    Aim carefully at the base of the fire; you probably won't have a second chance.
-    Be especially careful not to spread combustible fires (e.g., by blowing burning papers out of a wastebasket).
·    Squeeze the trigger.

Discussion Points:
-    Explain locations and types of fire extinguishers in your work area.
-    Ask for volunteers to demonstrate and describe how to use a fire extinguisher.
Conclusion: Know How to Choose and When to Use a Fire Extinguisher
The right extinguisher, properly used, can handle small fires. In all other cases, turn in an alarm and leave the job to trained firefighters.

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