Even if your premises is kitted out with the latest in fire warning and suppressant systems, fire extinguishers are an essential asset when it comes to proofing your building against a fire emergency. They can help control small outbreaks of fire quickly, preventing flames from spreading and causing more damage. In more severe emergencies, fire extinguishers can save lives, helping keep an evacuation route clear and providing crucial access to escape points.
When is it Safe to Use a Fire Extinguisher?
It might seem reasonable to assume an extinguisher can be used in any event of a fire, but it's important to consider multiple factors before deploying one. Using one without taking proper precautions first can sometimes cause more harm than good and put you, your employees and premises at further risk. Before using a fire extinguisher, make sure the fire itself is contained with no risk of spreading to surrounding areas. You also need to ensure the room hasn't filled with smoke. In every case of fire, make sure you've followed correct evacuation procedures and contacted the emergency services, even if you're confident you can control the fire yourself.
Positioning Fire Extinguishers
After deciding on which type of fire extinguishers is right for your premises, the next step is deciding on the best place to position them. You'll want to consider what other fire prevention and suppressant systems you may have installed before deciding on a final layout, but the biggest thing to bear in mind at all times is accessibility. A prime location for any fire extinguisher is along your designated fire escape route. So long as this route is clearly illustrated with signs, even a newcomer to your business should have little trouble identifying an extinguisher. Fire escape doors and main entrances are also another ideal place for fire extinguishers. Placing them here not only makes them incredibly easy to find, they also resolve the issue of your escape points becoming obstructed by fire in the event of an emergency. You also need to ensure a fire extinguisher is within easy reach from any point. You never want to travel more than 20-25 metres to reach one, have to pass through more than two doors, or have to venture to another floor in order to retrieve one.
The Importance of Regular Maintenance and Inspection
Every employer has an obligation under the Fire Safety Order (FSO) to ensure that all fire extinguishers and fire suppressant systems are regularly inspected and serviced to ensure they're in full working order. As a minimum, you'll need to perform visual checks and inspections of your extinguishers at least once a month. For larger organisations with more than five employees or more, you'll also need to provide thorough documentation and records of all inspections and maintenance carried out. At least once a year, you also need to arrange for more thorough inspections and servicing of all fire extinguishers n your premises. Servicing needs to be performed by a qualified engineer and you should immediately act on any feedback. Remember, it's pivotal that fire extinguishers be fully recharged after every use, even if you've only used it for a moment.
Looking for advice and guidance on how to safeguard your business against fire? Get in touch with the team at CFS today for all your fire extinguisher needs. Whether you're looking to purchase the latest extinguisher models on the market, or need third-party assistance for inspection, servicing and maintenance, we're here to help. Email us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a message via the online enquiry form. Alternatively, call our head office today on: 0844 801 2700 to speak to one of the team right away.
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