This Week in Safety: Location, Inspection and Operation of Fire Extinguishers

This Week in Safety: Location, Inspection and Operation of Fire Extinguishers

To prevent fire extinguishers from being moved or damaged, they should be mounted on brackets or in wall cabinets with their carrying handles 3-1/2 to five feet above the floor.
In addition, a sign indicating the location of the fire extinguisher should be present.

Fire extinguishers need to be inspected at least monthly. The inspection assures that they will operate effectively when needed.
When inspecting a fire extinguisher, ask the following questions:
• Is each fire extinguisher in its designated place, clearly visible, and not blocked by equipment, pallets, or other objects that could interfere with access during an emergency?
• Is the nameplate with operating instructions legible and facing outward?
• Is the pressure gauge showing a full charge?
• Are the pin and tamper seal intact?
• Is the extinguisher in good condition and showing no signs of physical damage, corrosion, or leakage?
• Have all dry powder fire extinguishers been rocked gently top to bottom to prevent powder from packing?

The PASS technique is used to teach and use a fire extinguisher correctly.
To use a fire extinguisher properly, follow these steps:
1. Pull – Pull the pin. This will break the tamper-proof seal.
2. Aim – Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
3. Squeeze – Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
4. Sweep – Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire, until it appears to be out.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH;; and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple, Inc., Olathe, KS;