Fire extinguishers are one of the first lines of defense in a commercial fire. Allowing workers to get a calm grasp of the situation before the conditions worsen. Therefore, choosing the correct fire extinguisher type in the workplace is important.
Having a fire extinguisher in the event of a fire is essential as it can make a distinction between life and death.
There are various types of fire extinguishers available and each type serves a different purpose. Therefore, selecting the right type depending on the nature and type of work is crucial for securing the safety of workers and property.
Employees or responsible persons in the work premises should be familiar with the use of fire extinguishers to maximize their effectiveness. In this blog, we will guide the readers on selecting the suitable type of fire extinguisher in case of a fire hazard.
Classification of Types of Fires
To use the right fire extinguisher, it is first important to get a know-how of its types. Below are some of these:
- Class A: Fires involving ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, or cloth.
- Class B: Fires involving flammable liquids or gases.
- Class C: Fires involving electrical equipment.
- Class D: Fires caused by flammable metals.
- Class F: Fires caused by cooking oils and fats.
This classification of fires helps workplaces and their employees understand the type of fire hazard that may occur and how to effectively deal with it.
For instance, in a wood production factory, the workers should know that a class-A fire is most likely to occur. Therefore, these factories should set up fire extinguishers that deal with class A types of fire as safety hazards.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
After getting familiar with the classes of fire, let us have a look at some types of commonly used fire extinguishers:
- Water extinguishers: This type of fire extinguisher is only eligible for Class A fire types. The extinguisher only uses water to put down the flames caused by paper, wood, or cloth.
- Foam extinguishers: Foam fire extinguishers are suitable for both Class A and Class B types of fire. It employs foam to dampen down the flames.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguishers: As the name tells CO2 fire extinguishers to use carbon dioxide to extinguish the fire and are used for Class B and Class C types of fires.
- Dry powder extinguishers: It uses dry powder to dampen the fire. This is to keep in mind that dry powder can be messy and should be handled with proper tools. This type of fire extinguisher is used for all classes of fires (A, B, C, D, and F).
- Wet chemical extinguishers: These are suitable for Class F fire types only. The particular liquid type of chemical helps to extinguish the fire. Wet chemical extinguishers are mostly designed for commercial kitchens, where cooking and oils and fats are common fire risks.
Having a good understanding of these types will help individuals know which extinguisher to use on the occasion of a fire.
Responsibilities That Come With it
Although using the correct type of fire extinguisher is the most effective way to get control of a fire. There are some responsibilities that an organization should keep track of to get a better hold of the situation in an event of a fire.
Keeping this in mind, companies should perform the following duties to ensure workplace safety.
Choosing the correct size and place for the extinguisher: A fire extinguisher should be set where it would be easy to access. Further, the size of the fire extinguishers matters, too. It would allow an employee or a person to carry it around to extinguish the fire quickly when needed.
Employee training: The companies should also consider the training needs of their employees to appoint competent persons to perform their duties well and teach fire safety principles to their workforce. Investing time and money in courses like online fire warden training, fire awareness training, or fire risk assessment training can be beneficial for both employers and their staff to better grasp an understanding of fire prevention measures.
Maintaining the extinguisher: Based on the type companies should regularly service their fire extinguishers. Most fire extinguishers require basic maintenance every 12 months.
Along with the classification of fires and types of extinguishers, knowing the possible causes of fire hazards at work is also important. Some of these are:
- Electrical equipment: Faulty electrical equipment is more likely to cause severe fire hazards in many workplaces like office environments, a Class C fire extinguisher would be preferable as it emits carbon dioxide, which is appropriate for electrical fires.
- Flammable liquids: Workplaces that handle flammable liquids, like gasoline or oil also have a potential danger to igniting fires and are required to have Class B fire extinguishers.
- Commercial kitchens: The use of fats and cooking oils in commercial kitchens is common. These require to have Class F fire extinguishers that emit wet chemical to cool and smoothens the flame.
Selecting the proper type of fire extinguisher is essential for any workplace. Choosing the right type of fire extinguisher is significantly important to act proficiently in a fire emergency. This content piece has explained in detail what type of extinguisher can be used in different types of activities where there is a risk of fire involved.