How invested are you in your business’ fire training efforts?

Understanding fire safety basics is foundational to fire prevention in the workplace. Knowing how to protect your employees and the working environment from fire should be a top priority for any business owner.

From choosing the most appropriate fire extinguishers to on-site fire training with staff; fire inspections and creation of a fire prevention plan, fire safety 101 should be taken seriously.

In this post, we’re going to explore fire extinguishers, how to select the right size and choose the correct one for your office. But first, what are those common office fire hazards to be wary of?

Common Office Fire Hazards

A fire hazard is something that has the potential to start and fuel a fire. By examining the five classes of fire, we can identify different fire hazards.

Class A fires are caused by common combustible materials such as wood, paper, and cloth.

Class B fires are fueled by flammable gases and liquids such as solvents and gasoline.

Class C fires have faulty live electrical connections as the fire source.

Class D fires are caused by combustible metals like titanium, lithium, and magnesium.

Class K fires typically occur within restaurants and fast food places as they are started by cooking oils, grease and fats.

Is a Fire Extinguisher Required in an Office?

Across most Canadian cities and provinces, buildings are expected to carry fire extinguishers with a minimum UL rating of 2-A:10-B:C

This can always be verified with a fire specialist if you’re unfamiliar with your city and or provincial building code regulations.

Now that we know that fire extinguishers are required within a business premise, what are the types of fire extinguishers you should choose for your small office?

Which Fire Extinguisher is Best for an Office?

A comprehensive fire prevention plan will make provision for securing reliable fire extinguishers.

Because no two businesses are alike, there is a need to tailor the fire safety requirements of each enterprise. When recommending the most appropriate fire extinguishers, fire specialists will take into account the size of the business or office space as well as the type of business activities taking place on the premises.

Below we have the minimum enterprise recommendations as laid out by the National Fire Protection Association Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers (NFPA 10).

Armed with an idea of which fire extinguisher to obtain what about the extinguishers sizing? Here are some practical fire extinguisher tips.

Tips on Sizing Your Small Office Fire Extinguisher

Ideally, consider the average dimensions of the room that you’re purchasing fire extinguishers for.

For small to medium-sized office spaces, it’s alright to settle for a 5-lb (2.3kg) fire extinguisher.  But for bigger rooms or even commercial-sized spaces, you’re going to want larger fire extinguishers typically the 10-lb (4.5kg) models.

While we’re on the topic of the sizes, you must also think about the physical capabilities of your staff members. Will they be able to easily manoeuvre and operate a bigger and heavier model or it’s best to mount two smaller models side-by-side?

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Having a fire extinguisher in your office is great but what’s even better is knowing how to use one. Fortunately, there is a simple acronym you can use to remember the steps involved in using this fire suppressant.

First, you’ll want to stand 6 to 8 feet (about 1.82 to 2.43 m) from the fire.

Next, follow the PASS procedure. PASS stands for:

PPull the fire extinguisher pin and clasp the extinguisher firmly with the nozzle pointed away from you

AAim for the base of the fire

S Squeeze the fire extinguisher’s lever slowly allowing for a steady, even discharge (Don’t panic if the fire flares up when you first release the agent onto the flames. This is normal.)

SSweep the fire extinguishers nozzle in slow, circular side-to-side motions, carefully approaching the fire, and always aiming at the base of the blaze.  

An office fire extinguisher presents you with a means of containing a small fire and even putting it out before it grows.

Someone in the office should have a working knowledge of how to use the fire extinguisher on the floor. Ideally, a handful of people should receive fire training and be thus familiar with the type of fire extinguishers used within the office space.

When Should You Use a Fire Extinguisher?

We’ve seen that fire extinguishers can contain chemical fire suppressant agents. For this reason, if you need to use a fire extinguisher, always make sure that all employees have left the space and moved to a safe place first.

Next, you should alert the fire services of the fire. And lastly, the person using the fire extinguisher must make sure they have a clear means of egress and aren’t trapping themselves.

Correct Fire Extinguisher Storage

All fire extinguishers must be secured and stored properly. This means mounting them on walls in the places where there is the highest risk of fire.

In an office, fire extinguishers should be within easy reach of employees – not more than 75 feet (22m) away from workstations.

Fire extinguishers may be kept inside wall cabinets or simply mounted on suitable brackets. The fire extinguisher handle should not trail on the floor but be about 3.5 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 m) from the floor.  

The Bottom Line

Fire extinguishers are invaluable fire suppressant tools that must be in every office. Fire prevention for work is not complete if your office space is not equipped with the necessary resources needed to fight and contain a small fire.

If you would like help to train your staff, develop a fire prevention plan, or choose the right fire extinguishers, our Nutech fire prevention specialists are on hand, ready to help.

In addition, we also offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, emergency lighting, exit lighting, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services.

Request a free quote today.