Inspect your Fire extinguishers and change the batteries in your home smoke detectors.
• Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9-15, and serves to remind us that fire-safety precautions in the workplace can prevent significant injuries and deaths. According to Injury Facts 2016, businesses lose billions of dollars to fire each year.
• Here’s how fire deaths and injuries affect various industries:*
* Taken from Injury Facts 2016, based on 2013 data results.
No industry is immune to fire, but some require more stringent precautions than others. Here are a few industry-specific materials and processes that can be fire-starters:
• Dust: Sawmills, automobile manufacturers, grain elevators, power plants and even sugar refineries produce powders and dust that can cause massive explosions
• Arc welding: Hazards include accumulation of toxic gases, showers of sparks and drops of molten metal
• Paint and flammable liquids: Often found on construction sites, and in warehouses and industrial plants, flammable liquids, if not stored properly, can be highly combustible
• Portable heaters and electrical devices: Used frequently by outdoor workers – but also found in many offices – portable heaters result in hundreds of fires each year.
You know fire extinguishers are important and understand their basic function. Portable fire extinguishers can be extremely effective in combating small fires within the workplace. However, not all extinguishers are the same. There are different classes for different types of fires. Proper selection and placement of extinguishers is extremely important. It’s also essential that once installed, the units are carefully, regularly inspected and maintained.
Types of Portable Fire Extinguishers (We have ABC fire extinguishers throughout the building and on jobsites)
• Class A (most common)
– Identified by a green triangle containing the letter A.
– Used for wood, paper, cloth, cardboard, and most ordinary combustibles.
– Cool and quench using water.
• Class B
– Identified by a red square containing the letter B.
– Used for flammable liquids, such as oil, solvents, tars, paints, greases, and gases.
– Smother or exclude air. Extinguisher types: dry chemicals, foam or carbon dioxide.
• Class C
– Identified by a blue circle containing the letter C.
– Used for energized electrical equipment, such as electrical boxes, panels, transformers, etc.
– Use non conductive extinguishing material, dry chemical, or carbon dioxide to smother the fire.
• Class D
– Identified by a yellow five-pointed star containing the letter D.
– Used for combustible metals such as aluminum, titanium, magnesium.
– Extinguisher type – use dry powder agent, specific to the combustible metal involved.
• Class K
– Identified by the letter K.
– Used for fats, grease, and oils in commercial kitchens.
– Use special agents. Some of these agents are dry and some are wet. Potassium bicarbonate is used in some of the dry chemical types and some wet types spray a fine chemical mist.
Placement & Maintenance
• Position portable fire extinguishers potential type and size of fire that can occur. Make sure size and spacing is in accordance with industry standards.
• Mount fire extinguisher units on brackets or in wall cabinets with the carrying handle placed 3-1/2 to 5 feet above the floor.
Position larger units at lower heights with the carrying handle about 3 feet from the floor.
• Each month inspections should ensure that:
– Extinguishers are in their assigned location, clearly visible, and not blocked or hidden by objects that would interfere with access.
– Nameplates with operating instructions are legible and facing outward.
– Pressure gauges indicate that the equipment is fully charged (in the green zone).
– Pins and tamper seals are intact.
– Equipment is in good condition – no physical damage, corrosion, or leaks.
– If the powder in dry powder extinguishers becomes packed, it can be loosened by gently rocking the extinguishers from top to bottom.
4-step PASS process can be used for operation:
– Pull the pin.
– Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
– Squeeze the handle slowly and evenly to discharge the material.
– Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
• If there is ever an instance where life is threatened, ensure all employees in the facility or jobsite leave immediately.
• Remember Inspect your Fire extinguishers and change the batteries in your home smoke detectors.
Thank you for continuing to make everyday a GeoSafe Day!