2023 Fire Extinguisher Safety
New Braunfels, TX, July 26, 2023
When used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or controlling it until the fire department arrives. Portable fire extinguishers are intended for home, work, or travel use and are not designed to fight large or spreading fires. However, even against small fires, they are only useful under certain conditions. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is a safe escape. It is very dangerous to fight a fire under any circumstances so always remember safety first. With, today we would like to discuss three things to remember when it comes to the safe operation of a fire extinguisher…
VERIFY THAT YOUR FIRE EXTINGUISHER IS INSPECTED
Like most of the equipment we use, you always want to inspect it daily. Your fire extinguisher is one important tool that you can’t plan on using on any day because you will never know when it may be required. That is exactly why your daily inspection is crucial. This provides us with the security of knowing that the fire extinguisher(s) are ready to perform should a situation arise. Outside of a daily inspection, it is worth noting that all fire extinguishers in use must have a documented visual inspection monthly and a formal inspection annually. Part of the inspection process includes verifying that it is fully charged with the arrow in the “green”, that the safety pin is in place, that it is properly tagged, and is free from damage or defects.
STAGE THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER
The location of your fire extinguisher is crucial to everyone on site. When it comes to needing to use the fire extinguisher, time is of the essence, so you don’t have any extra time to search for its location. That is why when we are performing normal scopes of work that don’t have a heightened risk for fire, we recommend staging the fire extinguisher near the site safety banner. In other cases when we are performing hot work or where there is a higher risk for fire, we recommend staging the fire extinguisher near where the work is taking place. Ultimately, the fire extinguisher should always be within easy reach and its location discussed as part of the JHA process. When not working on a jobsite, making sure that the extinguisher is properly mounted to avoid damage is a must.
IF USE IS REQUIRED, UTILIZE THE PASS METHOD
A fire extinguisher is another tool that requires a certain amount of training. Each operator must know how to properly use the fire extinguisher because there is no time to read instructions in an emergency. There is a simple phrase to remember when it comes to fire extinguisher operation. Start off by standing 6 to 8 feet away from the fire and follow the simple four-step PASS procedure. PULL the pin out so the operating lever is unlocked, and it allows you to be able to discharge the fire extinguisher. AIM low and point the fire extinguisher nozzle or hose at the base of the fire. SQUEEZE the lever below the handle and this discharges the extinguisher agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. SWEEP from side to side moving carefully toward the fire as it burns down. Keep sweeping back and forth until the flames appear to be out. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should know when and how to evacuate the area.
If you would like more information on this topic or any other safety-related topic, please reach out to the Ontivity safety team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get you taken care of.