Fire Extinguishers: Does Your Office Need One?

Fire extinguishers are crucial pieces of safety equipment in any establishment. However, not all fire extinguishers are the same, so what kind of extinguisher does your space need? Each place a fire might occur needs an extinguisher specific to that place and a potential class of fire. There is a lot to learn about choosing the right office fire extinguishers for your building’s needs, so be sure to make an educated choice to keep you, your property and your associates safe in case of a fire.

Fire extinguisher in the office

Identifying Office Fire Hazards

Fire extinguishers are created to stop fires of different classes. Fire classes are identified by what fuels the fire, so you will need to assess your place for potential risks of each fire class.

Reading up and researching on fire classes and extinguishers can help you identify which fire classes are a risk in your office space.

Identify Fire Extinguisher Size and Quantity Needed

How many extinguishers you need and what size they should be is determined by the level of hazard, size of your space, and the suggestions and recommendations of local and national fire codes. It is your responsibility to know the square footage of your office area in order to buy the correct number of extinguishers and place them properly.

Select the Suitable Type of Office Fire Extinguisher

Every type of extinguisher is made to put out a specific class of fire. Other extinguishers are designed to fight more than one class of fire. This is why it is important to assess the types of fires you could potentially face in your office environment. There are five major types of extinguishers. Each one is designed to combat a specific fire hazard, but some are a combination and can be used for two or more types of fire.

Water Fire Extinguishers

Water extinguishers are made for Class A fires. Class A fires are fueled by common combustibles such as fabric, trash, paper, wood, and plastics. Office buildings tend to have many of Class A fire sources including wooden furniture, curtains, paper recycling bins, and carpets.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

While these are designed to fight Class A fires, foam extinguishers can also be used to extinguish Class B fires. Class B fires are fueled by flammable liquids and gases, such as paint and gas. Class B fire fuels are usually found in offices in the form of furniture polish and cleaners.

Fire extinguishers lined up on a wall

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are designed to fight electrical fires (Class C) and Class B fires caused by flammable liquids. Electrical fires are a recognizable risk in the typical office since sources can include printers, photocopiers, computers, speakers, and electric heaters.

Powder Fire Extinguishers

Extinguishers that emit powder are handy. They can combat Class A, B, and C fires. This may be a good choice for an office establishment containing risks for all three fire types.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Fires caused by cooking oils and fat, Class K fires, need a wet chemical extinguisher. Wet

chemical models are efficient against Class A fires as well. These extinguishers are often found in commercial kitchens where grease fires are more likely to happen.

Store Fire Extinguishers Properly

Even in a low-hazard environment, extinguishers should be kept nearest to the greatest fire risk. The mandatory distance between extinguishers takes into account how far someone might be from reaching one. In an office setting, this means you will need to place extinguishers approximately 75 feet apart and no more than 75 feet from where employees work.

Extinguishers should be kept in wall cabinets or mounted on their appropriate brackets. The handle should be placed more or less 3.5 to 5 feet from the floor. Larger fire extinguishers may be placed with their handles about 3 feet from the floor. Moreover, all portable fire extinguishers should be labeled properly, as approved by a nationally recognized testing center.

Fire Safety For Office Buildings

Once you identify which office extinguishers your establishment needs, how many are required, and how they should be kept, train your employees on how to find and use fire extinguishers. After all, what good is a piece of safety equipment if you do not know how to operate it? By having the right extinguishers handy and ready for use, you guarantee the safety of your office building and your employees.

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