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What Should Businesses Know About Fire Extinguishers?

Did you know that the average fire extinguishers contain just 10 seconds of extinguishing power?

Significance lies in knowing the type of fire extinguisher you are using, more so if you are in charge of a business. Using the wrong type of extinguisher does not just fail in the attempt to smother fire but it can make the situation life threatening.

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Should I Use for Business?

The type of fire extinguisher opted for depends on the type of business you are running as well as the fire risks in a given building. This is usually determined through a fire risk assessment that is possible to be carried out only by the certified professionals.

Generally, in an office environment, you need to have different types of fire extinguishers.

Water fire extinguishers will aid in putting out fire on papers, wood and plastic.

CO2 extinguishers will help put out electrical fires.

Powder fire extinguishers are recommended for use on fires in the workshop environment where you are required to smother the fire on wood, paper, paint or fuel.

Foam fire extinguishers are necessary if there are flammable liquids.

How Many Fire Extinguishers are Necessary?

Just as the fire extinguisher you will be using is determined by your business, similarly, the number of fire extinguishers you require will also depend upon your business. It is always better to undertake a fire risk assessment to evaluate premises as well as the fire risks involved therein.

Without carrying out fire risk assessment, it is tough to determine the number of fire extinguishers necessary, but roughly, you require 2 fire extinguishers for every 200 square meters floor space.

Inspect your Fire Extinguisher

It is not enough to install your fire extinguisher. You need to check out on it at frequent interval regardless of whether you have installed the extinguisher to deal with industrial fires or a kitchen fire.

Here are a few tips to inspect your fire extinguisher

  • Read the operator’s manual carefully. This will help you learn the ways to inspect your extinguisher properly as well as maintain it. Remember that the fire extinguishers need routine maintenance. You thus need to get in touch with the professionals time and again to get the job done.
  • Check out on the fire extinguisher to find out whether it is disposable or rechargeable. The rechargeable extinguishers are possible to be refilled and thus, you can use it for long. The disposable ones, clear from the very name, needs to be replaced after use.
  • Check out on the fire extinguisher as closely as possible. Look for marks of rust, dent and other signs of damage.
  • Check the seal holding the pin in the handle of the extinguisher. Look carefully. Has it been tampered with? Are there any broken or missing seal?
  • If your fire extinguisher comes with a gauge, check out the pressure. Also, take a note of the weight. Find out whether the extinguisher is full or needs to be refilled.
  • Take a look at the nozzle, pin and the name plate to ensure that everything is intact. Most of the fire extinguishers are labeled with the last date of servicing. Check out on that as well.
  • Check out on the inspection tag of the extinguisher. Make sure it has been serviced.

How to Use the Fire Extinguisher

You have installed the right type of fire extinguisher and ensured that it is inspected on time. What next?

Do you know how to use the fire extinguisher?

PASS. Remember this word. This is the acronym that will help you through the steps of using the fire extinguisher.

Pull the Pin. Just hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointed away from you. Next, release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point your extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever slowly as well as well as evenly.

Sweep nozzle from one side to another.

Make sure to operate the extinguisher from a distance, say several feet away. Move towards the fire only when it begins to diminish.

Take a look at the instructions on the fire extinguisher closely. Different extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances. Always aim at the base of fire and never the flames.

Written By

Katie Smith is a fire expert and her areas of interests and expertise include forensic science and accident or crime scene investigation related matters. She often conducts fire investigation in Houston. Blogging is her hobby and she is also a consultant blogger, having well-accepted write-ups on a wide range of topics, such as general safety, security and safety equipment.



  1. Jen Pack

    June 8, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    My company has been taking steps to make our work environment a safer place so I really appreciate these insights. I like how you point out that not only is it important to have a fire extinguisher, but it is necessary to inspect it regularly to make sure it is running properly. I imagine that in order to have the best results, it will be necessary that we enlist the help of a fire extinguisher services company to get all the help we need. Thanks for these insights!

  2. Lucy Gibson

    November 29, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    I like your point about getting a fire risk assessment to determine how many fire extinguishers your building would need. It makes sense that you’d want approximately 2 extinguishers for every 200 square meters of floor space. Building managers and property owners would probably want to make sure they have these well placed in order to keep everyone and their property safe. I would also assume that you’d want an experienced company to help service, inspect, and/or replace these potentially life-saving devices.

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