A fire extinguisher is used in an emergency situation to extinguish or control small fires. It is not
intended for use on out-of-control fires, or for situations that require the expertise of the fire
Being prepared in the event of a fire can save lives and
• Know where the fire extinguishers are located. They
should be mounted in readily accessible locations.
• Know how to properly operate the fire extinguishers.
• Know the correct type of extinguisher for the particular
Class A: For ordinary combustible materials, such as
wood and paper.
Class B: For flammable liquids and gases.
Class C: For energized electrical equipment.
Class D: For combustible metals, such as magnesium.
Class K: For cooking oils, grease, or animal fat.
Halon: For sensitive electrical equipment or aircraft
It is very important to use ALL of the fire extinguishers listed above in accordance with both the manufacturer’s recommendations and OSHA regulations. Fire extinguishers should be serviced, maintained, fully charged and operable, and kept in their designated places at all times, except when being used to fight a fire.
• Annual inspection: Fire extinguishers need to be serviced and recharged on a yearly basis, and then a tag must be placed on the extinguisher to indicate the date the service was completed. This tag is to remain in place for the entire year until a new tag is placed.
• Monthly inspections: An employee must do a monthly inspection to determine that the extinguisher is available, in its designated place, will operate, and has not been tampered with. The inspection should also confirm that the fire extinguisher has proper signage identifying its location, that it is mounted to the wall, and that it has 3’ clearance. The employee must then initial the back of the yearly tag to indicate that the monthly inspection has been completed.
Before you consider fighting a fire with a portable fire extinguisher, be sure that everyone has either
left or is leaving the building, and that the fire department has been called. Certain fire conditions
make extinguishing the fire too dangerous to attempt, and should be left for the fire department when
they arrive. These situations include:
• A large fire that has reached the ceiling
• A fire that is spreading beyond the immediate area where it started
• A fire that could block your escape route
• Uncertainty of the proper operation of the fire extinguisher
• Uncertainty of whether or not the fire extinguisher is designed for the particular type of fire
• Danger of explosion
• Excessive smoke conditions
A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property if used correctly when putting out small fires,
or containing a fire until the fire department arrives.
Remember the following steps in the event of a fire:
• Call the fire department
• Make sure everyone has evacuated the building
• Use the right extinguisher for the fire