Portable Fire Extinguishers
This section has been reviewed and updated as needed: June 2014
The provisions of this policy apply to the selection, distribution, inspection, maintenance and testing of portable extinguishing equipment. The requirements given herein are minimums. Portable extinguishers are intended as a first line of defense to cope with fires of limited size. They are needed even when a facility is equipped with automatic sprinklers, standpipe and hose, or other fixed protection equipment. Fire extinguisher training is provided by contacting the Environment, Health and Safety Office Fire Safety Section.
The basic types of fires are Classes A, B, C, and D as defined in the following:
- Class A
- Ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics.
- Class B
- Flammable and combustible liquids.
- Class C
- Energized electrical equipment.
- Class D
- Combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, and potassium.
Classification and Ratings of Fire Extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers are classified for use on Class A, B, C, or D fires and rated by nationally recognized testing laboratories for relative extinguishing effectiveness. The classification and rating are based upon the preceding classification of fires and the fire extinguishment potentials as determined by fire tests.
Selection of Extinguishers
The selection of extinguishers for a given situation is determined by the character of the fires anticipated.
Distribution of Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers shall be provided for the protection of the building and for the occupancy hazard contained therein:
- Required building protection shall be provided by fire extinguishers suitable for Class A fires
- Protection against occupancy hazard shall be provided by fire extinguishers suitable for such Class A, B, C, or D fire potentials as may be present
Extinguishers shall be conspicuously located where they will be readily accessible in the event of fire. They shall be located along normal paths of travel, including exits from an area. Fire protection and fire detection equipment shall not be obstructed.
Extinguishers needing to be recharged due to use or pressure leakage will be recharged by the Environment, Health and Safety Office at no cost to the department or building to which the extinguisher was assigned.
Extinguishers are to be visually inspected monthly by departmental personnel.
The Environment, Health and Safety Office will review plans and determine the types and number of fire extinguishers required for new buildings. The purchase of fire extinguishers and fire hoses for new buildings will normally be funded from the movable equipment allocation of the Capital Improvements budget for the new building. The building’s using department must reserve sufficient funds in the movable equipment account to cover all costs of initial outfitting for fire extinguishers. The Environment, Health and Safety Office will designate the locations where extinguishers are to be installed and will install the extinguishers on request.
Each department will be responsible for funding additional extinguishers required by changes in the type of occupancy (e.g., conversion of space from office to laboratory). The Environment, Health and Safety Office will determine the type and location of extinguishers and will install them on request.
Extinguisher Loss Due to Damage or Theft
It is the responsibility of the using department to institute security measures to prevent losses due to theft. The Environment, Health and Safety Office will replace missing extinguishers, billing them to the department responsible for the area.