When it comes to fire safety, one of the most important investments any business can make is purchasing a fire extinguisher. But with so many different types and sizes available, you may be wondering: what type of fire extinguisher do I need for my business?
Whether you’re just starting or need to replace an existing unit, this guide will help you understand what type of fire extinguisher your business needs to keep everyone safe.
Different Types of Fire Extinguishers and Their Uses
You can’t just use any extinguisher – you need to find the right one for the particular types of fire that may affect your business. This makes choosing the correct extinguisher a critical decision when putting together a fire safety plan. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) breaks down each type with an A, B, and C rating system.
- You can use halon extinguishers on all Class A to C fires but not if humans are present due to their toxicity.
- Carbon dioxide extinguishers are best for computer server rooms where they can easily handle Class B and electrical fires without causing additional harm.
- The wet chemical extinguisher is most often used in eateries since it affects flammable liquids, cooking fat, and oil fires without damaging cooking equipment.
- Dry powder is the most efficient at tackling electrical equipment or metal fires.
- Foam spray extinguishers work best against flammable liquids such as gasoline or oil.
- Water-based fire extinguishers contain pressure water and fight combustible material such as paper or wood fires.
Understanding these details before putting together your fire safety plan is paramount to ensure that you make an informed decision when selecting the best type of fire extinguisher for your needs.
How to Determine What Size of Fire Extinguisher You Need
When selecting the appropriate size fire extinguisher for your business, you should consider a few factors.
- Assess the overall size of the area you need to cover with the extinguisher. It is recommended to purchase an extinguisher based on other square footage of the space, typically one for every 150-200 square feet or 30 linear feet of wall space. For example, a small office space will require a much smaller extinguisher than a large manufacturing facility or warehouse. It would help if you also considered the types of fires that could occur in your building.
- Determining the appropriate size using the rating system used by fire safety experts. Fire extinguishers are rated according to their relative effectiveness against various classes of fires — from 1A:10B: C up to 320A:80B: C — which refers to how many square feet of burning material each unit can put out. Make sure you select an extinguisher with a rating that matches or exceeds your expected needs.
- Consider additional features that may make using the extinguisher easier in an emergency. Features like anti-theft alarms and wall-mounting capabilities can help protect your investment while making it more accessible when you need it most.
Different businesses have different fire risks and, as such, need different types of fire extinguishers. Deciding what type of fire extinguisher to get for your business may seem daunting, but we hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the different types of fires and which extinguishers you’ll need to put them out. Good luck!
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