Fire extinguishers are an essential safety item in nearly any large facility. The larger your facility, or the more dangerous the operations you conduct, the greater the importance of fire safety. However, simply having enough fire extinguishers to meet local building codes won't guarantee a safe environment for your facility's workers or visitors.
Instead, you must treat fire extinguisher purchasing, maintenance, and inspection as one of the most critical aspects of your facility's operations. These three tips will help you get the most from your fire extinguishers, so you know they'll be ready to go if you need to use them.
1. Work With a Reliable Supplier
Inspecting and maintaining your fire extinguishers is the most important thing you can do to minimize the potential for problems, but buying reliable units from a trusted supplier can help further reduce the likelihood of problems in the future. Working with an experienced supplier is especially crucial when buying many extinguishers for a large commercial or industrial facility.
An experienced supplier can help you select the best fire extinguishers for your facility. The correct extinguishers will be able to deal with the classes of your fires you're most likely to see, helping to ensure that your fire extinguishers will provide the greatest possible effectiveness in an emergency.
2. Choose Appropriate Sizes
Fire extinguishers come in a wide range of different sizes depending on their intended use. The smallest sizes are easy for nearly anyone to carry, while the largest sizes will require specialized equipment to move. Larger extinguishers that require dedicated platforms or trailers are typically only necessary in specialized industrial settings.
However, even smaller fire extinguishers come in different sizes and include different ratings indicating their coverage area. Large, open areas or rooms that contain many flammable objects will likely require larger fire extinguishers to provide adequate coverage. If in doubt, your supplier should be able to recommend appropriate sizes for your needs.
3. Don't Ignore Inspections and Maintenance
The good news is that fire extinguishers don't require specialized certification for inspection. The bad news is that you may not inspect your fire extinguishers often enough. The NFPA recommends inspecting extinguishers in any facility at least once per month. You should have multiple employees with the knowledge and training to perform this task.
Inspecting your fire extinguishers is the most important thing you can do to ensure their effectiveness during an emergency. You should replace or repair any fire extinguishers that show outward signs of defects and consider inspecting extinguishers in high-risk areas even more often than once per month.
For more information on dry chemical extinguishers, contact a professional near you.