Fire extinguishers are the first line of defence in a fire emergency. When used properly, fire extinguishers keep the fire from spreading. They provide businesses with peace of mind and save lives. Fire extinguishers are a vital safety tool for all types of businesses, whether big or small.
By law, businesses are required to have adequate fire extinguishers in place. They can be easily overlooked or forgotten, that is why there are regulations that are needed to be followed to ensure that they meet code standards and are in working order.
Continue reading to learn more about fire extinguishers .
Types of Fires and Fire Extinguishers
There are different types of fires depending on their sources. These fires require their own type of fire extinguisher to put them out in the safest and most effective way. If the extinguisher used is wrong, it can be ineffective and can do more harm than good.
Portable fire extinguishers come in different sizes and ratings. These ratings indicate the size of fire they can be used – the higher the rating, the larger the fire it can be used on. Extinguishers can be rated for one or more classes of fire.
In Australia, there are six classes of fire. These indicate the source or material involved.
Class A – Ordinary Combustibles
These fires are caused by flammable solids such as wood, paper, and fabric. The type of fire extinguishers that are used for this category is Powder ABE, water, foam, and wet chemicals.
Class B – Flammable Liquids
This type of fire is caused by flammable liquids such as petrol, turpentine, or paint. In the work environment, this also includes chemical-based cleaning products, electrical contact cleaners, and lubricants used for equipment. Extinguishers best suited for putting out Class B fires are Powder ABE, BE, and foam.
Class C – Flammable Gases
Class C fires are started by flammable gases such as hydrogen, butane, and methane. In some industries, these gases are used to operate machinery which could lead to fire or probable explosion. Extinguishers that are suited for these fires are Powder ABE and BE.
Class D – Combustible Metals
These fires are caused by combustible metals like magnesium, aluminum or potassium. These materials are commonly found in laboratories. Dry Chemical extinguisher suits best for this type of fire.
Class E – Electrical Equipment
This fire involves electrical equipment, commonly caused by faulty electrical wiring. Electrical-based fires should be put out by Powder ABE and BE, carbon dioxide, and vaporizing liquid. Water should never be used to extinguish this class of fire.
Class F – Cooking Oil, Grease and Fat
This type of fire commonly occurs in the kitchen. Like electrical-based fires, water should never be used to put off the fire. Instead, Powder BE and wet chemical extinguishers should be used.
The fire risk from the different classes of fire will determine which fire extinguisher type is needed for the building or area. Furthermore, the right size and weight of fire extinguishers should be taken into consideration when choosing what’s best for the building or establishment.
AS 2444 sets out criteria for the selection of portable fire extinguishers and specifies requirements for their application, location and distribution.It includes a section which sets out criteria for the selection of fire blankets and specifies requirements for their location and distribution.
Fire Protection and Safety doesn’t stop at acquiring an extinguisher for your place. Fire extinguishers should be used by someone who has the proper knowledge of operating them in the event of a fire emergency. Thus, an appointed person must undergo fire extinguisher training. This is to ensure that the correct type of extinguisher is used. Using the wrong type of extinguisher could lead to life-threatening consequences.
When fire extinguishers have been secured and an appointed person has been trained, it is also important that the fire extinguishers undergo routine maintenance checks to ensure that they are at their optimal function.
AS 1851 is a set of rules and regulations that ensure building owners are compliant in meeting the safety standards imposed on fire protection systems. These rules and regulations help to ensure all state and Occupational Health & Safety rules are met so the building owner can be sure they are in compliance with all applicable laws.
Queensland fire extinguisher testing requirements state that portable and wheeled fire extinguishers require inspection and testing on a six monthly basis. Furthermore, pressure testing is required every five years. The fire extinguisher service must be carried out by a licensed fire technician.
When a fire extinguisher fails the inspection and testing, it will need to be recharged or replaced depending on its failure point. A proper fire extinguisher disposal should be carried out to ensure safety.
FCF Gold Coast provides routine maintenance for your fire equipment including fire extinguishers, fire hose reels, hydrants and more. This means you do not have to worry about when your assets are due for testing, we will manage everything for you.
We also supply and install a wide range of fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, hose reels, and more. We are your one-stop shop when it comes to fire safety. Contact us today for more information.