What is the NFPA 10? Understanding Portable Fire Extinguisher Safety Requirements

NFPA 10

Since the creation of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 1896, the organization has grown and expanded and develops new and improved safety codes, standards, recommended practices, and guides for fire safety protection on an ongoing basis. One of those safety standards is the NFPA 10.

What is NFPA 10? NFPA 10 provides the minimum requirements for portable fire extinguishers to ensure they are maintained and are ready to be used as they are intended for, to extinguish fires. These minimum requirements apply to the selection, installation, inspection, maintenance, recharging, and testing of portable fire extinguishers and Class D extinguishing agents.

Let’s look at each of them a little more closely.

Selection of Portable Fire Extinguishers: The selection of a portable fire extinguisher is based on the applicable requirements of chapter 5 of the NFPA standards. Below are some highlights.

1- Classification of the Fire

  • Class A Fires (Common combustibles, i.e. paper, wood, cloths, etc.)
  • Class B Fires (Flammable liquids, i.e. petroleum, grease, tars, oils, etc.)
  • Class C Fires (Energized electrical fires)
  • Class D Fires (Combustible metal fires, i.e. magnesium, titanium, sodium, etc.)
  • Class K fires (Combustible cooking media, i.e. Vegetable or animal oils and fats)

2- Selection by Occupancy

  • The greater the occupancy, the more fire extinguishers needed.

3- Selection for Specific Hazards

  • Pressurized flammable liquids and pressurized gas fires (See manufactures recommendations for each brand (Class B fires). *Other Class fires have selection differences.

4- Selection for Specific Locations

  • Where portable fire extinguishers are required to be installed. (See NFPA Codes/Guidelines of chapter 5 of the NFPA Standards Sheet)

Installation of Portable Fire Extinguishers: Fire Extinguishers are to be placed in highly visible locations of a building where individuals can quickly and easily access them in the event of a fire. Below are some of the general guidelines to be aware of and they can be found in section 6 of the NFPA Standards Sheet.

1 – Number of Extinguishers

  • The minimum number of fire extinguishers needed to protect property. Determining factors include:
    – Extinguisher size
    – Extinguisher rating
    Building size
    – Building type or use

2 – Extinguisher Readiness

  • Portable fire extinguishers must always be well maintained and in a fully charged and operable condition. This includes a yearly maintenance check.

3 – Placement of Fire Extinguishers

  • Fire extinguishers must be conspicuously located where they can be accessible and immediately available in the event of a fire.

4 – Visual Obstructions

  • Fire extinguishers shall not be obstructed in any way or placed out of view.

5 – Installation Height of Fire Extinguishers

  • Fire Extinguishers weighing Less than 40 pounds shall be installed so that the top of the fire extinguisher is no more than 5 feet above the floor.
  • Fire Extinguishers weighing greater than 40 pounds shall be installed so that the top of the fire extinguisher not more than 3.5 feet above the floor.

6 – Label Visibility of Fire Extinguishers

  • Operating instructions must be located on the front of the fire extinguisher.
  • Other labels such as the Hazardous material identification systems, 6-year maintenance labels, hydrostatic test labels shall not be located on the front of the fire extinguisher.

7 –Fire Extinguishers Cabinets

  • Cabinets housing fire extinguishers shall not be locked.
  • Located where they can be easily viewed and accessed in the event of a fire.
  • Clearly marked with no obstruction to the view.
  • Shall not be exposed to temperatures outside of the manufacturer’s recommendations.

8 – Antifreeze

  • Fire Extinguishers containing only plain water shall have antifreeze added by a trained professional to protect against temperatures as low as -40°

9 – Installation for Fire Classification Types

  • Special requirements for Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class K fire hazards.

Inspection of Portable Fire Extinguishers: The owner, company or occupant of the property/building in which fire extinguishers are located are responsible to conduct proper inspections, maintenance checks, and recharging processes. See chapter 7 of the NFPA Standards sheet.

1 – Personnel

  • Persons performing inspections must be a professionally trained and certified individual.
  • Passed required testing and be awarded a certificate or document stating such.

2 – Replacement While Servicing

  • Any fire extinguisher removed for repairs or maintenance must be replaced with a suitable fire extinguisher that is designed to protect against the hazards of that area and rating must meet standards to protect that area.

3- Tags or Labels

  • Tags or labels must be affixed to the fire extinguisher to record maintenance or recharge dates.
  • Tags or labels must not obstruct or limit the use of the fire extinguisher.

4- Inspection Frequency

  • Fire extinguishers shall be inspected regularly according to the type of fire extinguisher it is.
  • Must follow inspection procedures as outlined by in NFPA.

Maintenance of Portable Fire Extinguishers: Portable fire extinguishers are required to be maintained and ensure that the mechanical parts of the fire extinguisher, extinguishing agent, expelling means of the fire extinguisher and physical condition of the fire extinguisher is in good condition and working as it is designed to. You can read these standards in chapter 7 of the NFPA Standards sheet.

Hydrostatic Testing: Pressure vessels used as fire extinguishers and specified components of fire extinguishers shall be hydrostatically tested by specifically trained individuals in accordance with guidelines in chapter 8.

1 – Test Equipment

  • Test pressure gauges shall be certified accurate to +5%, or better, of the full range of the gauge.
  • All hydrostatically tested cylinders and apparatus, except water-type extinguishers, shall be thoroughly dried after testing.

2 – Frequency

  • At intervals not exceeding those specified in Table 8.3.1 of chapter 8, fire extinguishers shall be hydrostatically retested.
  • Cylinders and cartridges and hose assemblies shall also be tested according to guidelines outlined in chapter 8.
  1. Extinguisher Examination
  • If, and any time, a fire extinguisher shows evidence of dents, mechanical injury, or corrosion to the extent as to indicate weakness, is shall be condemned or hydrostatically retested subject to provisions outlined in chapter 8.

4- Testing Procedures

  • The pressure in the hydrostatic test of a cylinder shall be maintained for a minimum of 30 seconds, but for a time, not less than is required for complete expansion of the cylinder and to complete the visual examination of the cylinder.
  • Low-pressure cylinders, high-pressure cylinders, and hose assemblies shall also be tested according to guidelines outlined in chapter 8.

5- Test Pressures

  • Low-pressure stored pressure fire extinguishers shall be hydrostatically tested to the pressure specified on the extinguisher nameplate.
  • High-pressure cylinders that are used with wheeled extinguishers shall be tested at 5/3 the service pressure stamped into the cylinder.
  • Hose assemblies shall be tested at pressures according to the contained extinguishing agent (CO2 – tested at 1250 psi, dry chemical, dry powder, water, foam, and halogenated agent discharge shall be tested at 300 psi)

6-Recording of Hydrostatic Tests

  • The record of a hydrostatic test shall be maintained by the organization that performed the test until either the expiration of the test period or until the cylinder is again tested, whichever occurs first.

May be interested in our other article titled “National Fire Protection Association – NFPA

What is the Difference Between Codes and Standards in the Fire Safety Industry?

What is the Difference Between Codes and Standards in the Fire Safety Industry?

Starting a new business can be stressful enough dealing with inventory, managing personnel, keeping track of taxes, marketing your goods or services, customer service after the sale, and really the list goes on. If your business is a brick and mortar facility, then you will also have to learn and apply various guidelines that may govern your type of business, including codes and standards within the safety industry. When an employee or customer enters your facility, you have a degree of responsibility for their safety when in your business.

So, what are the differences between Codes and Standards?

Codes are:

  • WHERE safety guidelines are to be applied, and
  • WHAT kind of guidelines are required to be applied

Standards direct:

  • HOW the codes are to be applied.

Let’s look at how the codes and standards related to the safety industry, and specifically fire safety protection are applied, or the where, what, and how of these codes and standards.

Fire Safety Codes

Note: Fire Safety Codes stem from a model building code developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and adopted for use as a base code standard by most jurisdictions in the United States.

WHERE: All public buildings and places such as office buildings, hospitals, retail facilities, malls, warehouses, etc. In these locations fire protection is mandated.

WHAT: Depending on the building type, size and location, there will be different requirements for the type of fire protection that will be required. For example, some buildings will require there be portable fire extinguishers, other may require wheeled fire extinguishers, and some standpipe and hose systems.

In addition, a different extinguishing agent (wet or dry chemical) may be required based on the potential fuel sources that are in the areas where a fire extinguisher is located.

Fire Safety Standards  

Note: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a trade association that creates and maintains private, copyrighted standards and codes for use and adaptation by local governments.

How: Standards are set for how portable fire extinguishers, wheeled fire extinguishers, standpipes and hose systems, dry and wet chemical extinguishing system are to be installed.

  • Portable Fire Extinguishers: NFPA 10 sets forth requirements for the placement, signage, and use of portable fire extinguishers to ensure that they function as intended as the first line of defense for fires found and acted upon when the fire is of a limited size.
  • Wheeled Fire Extinguishers: Wheeled fire extinguishers are standard equipment for many commercial and industrial settings that are larger in scale and require a greater fire fighting capacity to help keep fires that could originate in these facilities before they get out of control. Examples are large construction sites, chemical plants, storage facilities, refineries, ship docks, and offshore facilities.
  • Standpipes and Hose Systems: NFPA 14 sets forth requirements for the installation of standpipes and hose systems so that when activated the system will work as described to deliver adequate and reliable water supplies when combating a fire.
  • Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishing Systems: NFPA 17 sets forth minimal standards to ensure that dry chemical fire extinguishing systems will perform as intended for the duration of their use, or life.
  • Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishing Systems: NFPA 17A sets for standards applicable to the design, installation, operation, testing, and maintenance of wet chemical fire extinguishing systems, and includes minimal requirements for restaurant and institutional plenums, hoods, ducts, and associated cooking appliances.

11 Interesting Facts About Fire Extinguishers

11 Interesting Facts About Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are a part of our daily lives. Most homeowners will have one in their kitchen, landlords will have them inside their rental units for their tenants, store owners will have then placed in several places around the store to meet OSHA and NFPA standards and guidelines, and car owners may have them in the trunk of their cars.

With how integrated fire extinguishers are in our lives and how little the general public knows about fire extinguishers, I thought I would share with you 11 interesting facts about fire extinguishers.

1- The concept of a fire extinguisher has been around for a very long time. Two thousand, two hundred and nineteen years to be exact. Ctesibius of Alexandria invented a hand pump that, among other things, was used to pump water to extinguish fires.

It wasn’t until years later, when Ambrose Godfrey, a German chemist invented a fire extinguisher that used gunpowder and fuses to expel the water out of the “fire extinguisher”.

The modern fire extinguisher was invented in 1818 by a British Captain named George William Manby. The fire extinguisher was made from copper, held 3 gallons of extinguishing agent potassium carbonate solution (dry chemical), and contained compressed air.

2- Not all fire extinguishers are built the same. Fire extinguishers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The smallest fire extinguisher is a 1.5-pound portable fire extinguisher that can be fitted on ATVs or in the car, and the largest fire extinguisher is a 350-pound wheeled fire extinguisher that is designed for fighting fires on oil rigs and boat docks.

3- There are several different “brands” of fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers are made by several different companies. Company will design extinguishers with a variety of components, delivery systems, agent solutions, and whatever unique features that can help them distinguish themselves from the competition.

4- There are several different types of fire extinguishers on the market today. In today’s world, fire extinguishers are used in a variety of places, and as such, they are designed to work in different settings. Here is a list of the types of fire extinguishers that are used today.

Dry Chemical Extinguishers are the most common type of fire extinguishers. They are found in homes, businesses, and public settings. Dry chemical fire extinguishers are not designed for fires that involve sensitive electrical equipment as the agent used in dry chemical fire extinguishers is not a “clean-agent” chemical and may damage the electrical equipment, and the dry chemical leaves a residue, which must be cleaned up after it has been discharged. These are:

– Multipurpose (ABC) Dry Chemical Extinguishers
– Ordinary Dry Chemical Extinguishers
– Purple K Dry Chemical (PKP) Extinguishers
– High-Flow Dry Chemical Extinguishers

Foam Extinguishers are designed for flammable liquid fires.

 A Pressurized Water Extinguisher contains tap water, which is under pressure inside the fire extinguisher. These types of fire extinguishers are designed to be used on common combustible fires.

Loaded Stream Extinguishers are water extinguishers with an anti-freeze additive. Used for Class A fires.

Water Mist Extinguishers contain de-ionized water, which does not conduct electricity. These extinguishers are used for Class A fires.

Clean Agent Extinguishers use Halon 1211 or a halocarbon. These clean agent fire extinguishers leave no residue and are designed to be used on electronic equipment.

Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers are rated for flammable liquid fires but are also effective on Class C fires that involve sensitive electrical fires.

Class K Extinguishers contain wet chemical. They are commonly found in commercial kitchens for appliance fires involving cooking oil.

Dry Powder Extinguishers are designed for Class D fires, so they are intended for combustible metal fires only.

Offshore Fire Extinguishers are designed to be used on oil rigs, boat docks, or marine settings. They have a special galvanized coating that prevents rust and damage from the harsh sea, sun, and salt environment that is common in those conditions. These extinguishers are available in dry chemical, and Halotron models.

5- Fire extinguishers save lives. Each year, it is estimated that thousands of lives are saved due to the quick and effective use of fire extinguishers. Whether a kitchen fire in the house, a car engine fire, storage warehouse fire, or a fire from caused by the fury of mother nature, fire extinguishers save lives.

6- Designed so that even kids can use them. Fire extinguishers are designed in such a way that anyone can use them, even kids. Outreach programs sponsored by OSHA and the NFPA have taught individuals from all walks of life and a large spectrum of ages to follow the P.A.S.S technique when using a fire extinguisher. See below:

P: Pull Pin
A: Aim at the base of the fire
S: Squeeze the Lever
S: Sweep from side to side

If you want to learn more about how to properly use a fire extinguisher to extinguish a fire, read our other article titled, “How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher”.

7- Fire extinguishers have become fashionable. Many homeowners and artist will use old classic fire extinguishers, now empty, as household decretive artwork. A quick search on Esty or Pinterest will show several redesigned fire extinguishers used as decoration in the home and even offices.

8- Fire extinguishers need to be inspected regularly. Fire extinguishers need to be serviced on a regular basis in order to comply with today’s safety standards and ensure that the fire extinguisher is in good working order.

9- Water won’t extinguish all fires. Water is great for extinguishing Class A fires (wood, paper, common combustibles) but should never be used on Class B, C or D fires.

10- Fires that involve sensitive electrical equipment require a specific type of fire extinguisher. Electrical fires (Class C Fires) especially the ones that involve sensitive electrical equipment, need to be extinguished using a specific fire extinguisher so that the agent doesn’t damage or destroy the equipment.

The best types of fire extinguishers to use when fighting a fire involving sensitive electrical equipment is the Halotron fire extinguisher and the Carbon Dioxide fire extinguisher.

11- AFO Fireball fire extinguisher. A new type of fire extinguisher that is on the market today is the AFO Fireball fire extinguisher. It is different in that it is not a canister configuration that holds the agent under pressures and discharges it when activated via squeezing the hand lever and pointing the hose or nozzle toward the base of the fire. As such the “PASS method” is not utilized. Rather, the AFO Fireball works by throwing an agent containing ball directly into the fire where it will explode, sending the extinguishing agent flying in all directions to effectively extinguishing the fire.

What are Foam Fire Extinguishers Used for?

What are Foam Fire Extinguishers Used for?

This morning I received a phone call from a customer who needed a fire extinguisher that was designed to extinguish class C fires. After talking about his needs and where the fire extinguisher will be used, we concluded that a foam fire extinguisher would fit his needs best.

What are the applications for portable foam fire extinguishers? Foam fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish Class A (flammable solids such as paper, wood, and textile) and Class B fires (petroleum, diesel, and paint). They are commonly found in industrial kitchens, gas stations, bars, aircraft hangars, boat and automobile servicing stations, due to its impressive extinguishing capabilities of extinguishing liquid fires (Class B fires).

While there are other fire extinguishers that are suited for class B fires, the foam fire extinguisher is extremely effective and is designed to prevent the liquid fires from being re-ignited.

Note: Foam fire extinguishers are not recommended for Class C fires where the agent may damage sensitive electrical equipment, and for cooking fires or flammable gas fires (methane and butane) as its mechanism for extinguishment is not as effective against these fires where vapors are present.

How do foam fire extinguishers effectively extinguish fires?
When the fire extinguisher is activated, the water/foam solution (agent) comes in contact with the air, causing the solution to discharge as a thick foam due to the air-aspirated nozzles that are fitted on the valve assembly of every foam fire extinguisher.

As the foam is sprayed onto the fire, it extinguishes the fire in two ways, 1) it cools the fire, and 2) it smothers the fire, effectively sealing up the fire which prevents the vapors of the flammable liquids from coming in contact with the oxygen in the air, in essence the foam smothers the fire. This is also the mechanism that prevents the liquid fires from becoming reignited if a spark or heat were added.

For the chemical reaction of fire to occur, it needs three things. They are oxygen, fuel and heat. If you remove any one of these elements, the fire can no longer exist. Essentially, foam fire extinguishers remove the heat and the oxygen from the fuel source effectively extinguishing the fire.

Is the foam harmful?
No, the foam from the fire extinguisher contains aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) and is considered non-poisonous and non-toxic to humans or the environment. Additionally, the foam solution is non-damaging to most materials, the exception being electrical appliances or equipment. The foam can damage electrical equipment, especially sensitive electrical equipment like computers, servers or data storage centers.

How do you use a foam fire extinguisher?
Using a portable foam fire extinguisher is like most portable fire extinguishers where the P.A.S.S method is implemented to extinguish the fire.
P: Pull the pin

A: Aim low and at the base of a fire

S: Squeeze the lever

S: Sweep from side to side

You can learn more about the P.A.S.S. method by reading our other article titled, “How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher”.

To properly extinguish a fire using a foam fire extinguisher, do the following:
Method 1 – when a liquid fire has been contained to a specific area: Pull the pin, aim extinguisher nozzle at the inside edge of the containment area, pull lever and spray foam slowly, sweeping from one side to the other, ensuring the fire is completely covered and extinguished.

Method 2 – when the liquid fire has NOT been contained: Pull the pin, aim extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire, pull lever and gently spray foam using the side to side motion across the TOP of the fire so that the foam will fall down upon top of the fire. Continue to do so until the fire has been completely covered and extinguished.

How often do foam fire extinguishers need to be serviced?Like all fire extinguishers, foam fire extinguishers need to be inspected and serviced on a regular basis, at least yearly, to ensure it is in good working order in the event of a fire.

What is the best fire extinguisher for a Class C fire?

What is the best fire extinguisher for a Class C fire?

Energized Electrical fires are categorized as Class C fires. This means that the fire is fueled by electricity. Once the Electricity is removed or shut off, the fire is no longer classified as a Class C fire.

What is the best fire extinguisher for a Class C fire? For fires that involve sensitive equipment such as computers, servers, data centers, or other electrical equipment, Carbon Dioxide and Halotron Fire extinguishers are the best options to extinguish the fire without damaging the sensitive equipment. If the electrical fire doesn’t involve sensitive equipment, then an ABC or Standard BC fire extinguisher will extinguish Class C fire.

Each type of fire extinguisher on the market today use a different agent to effectively extinguish the fire. Review the chart below to see the different fire extinguishers and the agent used in them.

Extinguisher Type Agent Used Agent Type
ABC Class Fire Extinguishers Dry Chemical Monoammonium Phosphate Dry Chemical
Standard BC Fire Extinguishers sodium bicarbonate-based agent Dry Chemical
Halotron Fire Extinguishers Halotron I Clean Agent
Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers Carbon Dioxide (Pressured Gas) Clean Agent

As mentioned above, not all Class C fires are the same. Fires that involve sensitive electrical equipment need to be extinguished by a clean agent fire extinguisher otherwise the Dry Chemical, Monoammonium Phosphate or sodium bicarbonate may damage the electrical equipment due to its corrosive and damaging properties on electrical equipment.

Dry Chemical vs Clean Agent

Dry Chemical: Fire extinguishers such as the ABC Class fire extinguisher or the Standard BC Class fire extinguishers use a light, fine solid powder that extinguishes the fire. While the ABC Class fire extinguisher is effective in fighting Class A, Class B, and Class C fires, the dry chemical powder needs to be cleaned up after it has been discharged.

Clean Agent: The Halotron I and the Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers are known as “clean agent” fire extinguishers. Agents used in these fire extinguishers are residue-free and easy to clean up after it has been discharged.  The Halotron fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish Class A, Class B, and Class C fires while the Carbon Dioxide Fire extinguishers are only designed to extinguish Class B and Class C fires.

Portable vs Wheeled Class C Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are available in both portable and wheeled fire extinguishers. The location, size, and environment in which the fire extinguisher will be used will be the determining factor as to which model type you choose.

Portable Fire Extinguishers: Portable fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish smaller fires and are the most common model type as they are easy to use and take up little space. Portable fire extinguishers are found in both public and private settings such as offices, homes, stores, and malls.

Potable fire extinguishers are available in the following design types: ABC Class, BC Class, Carbon Dioxide and Halotron I.

Wheeled Fire Extinguishers: Wheeled fire extinguishers are much larger, typically between 50 pounds to 350 pounds which allow them to extinguish larger fires. Due to its larger design and extinguishing capabilities, wheeled fire extinguishers are typically found in the following places: cruise liners, warehouses, data centers, boat docks, oil rigs, and airports.

Wheeled fire extinguishers are available in the following design types: ABC Class, BC Class, Carbon Dioxide and Halotron I.

Related Questions:

For sensitive equipment, is the Halotron I or Carbon Dioxide fire extinguisher better?
It’s difficult to say which of the two fire extinguishers is better without knowing the environment in which it will be used.

However, it is important to note that the halotron fire extinguishers are capable of extinguishing Class A, Class B, and Class C fires. Whereas the Carbon Dioxide fire extinguisher is only capable of extinguishing Class B and Class C fires.

If there is a chance that a Class A fire may occur in the office or building where the fire extinguisher will be used, it is better to get the Halotron fire extinguisher.

Are wheeled fire extinguishers moveable or portable?

Yes- Wheeled fire extinguishers are designed with large wheels and well-balanced frames which allows the unit to be transported and moved by a single person. However, it is not as easy to move as a “portable” fire extinguisher.

Can Dry Chemical fire extinguishers be used in the home with kids or pets?

The most popular fire extinguisher in homes across the United States is the ABC Class fire extinguisher, which is a dry chemical fire extinguisher, due to its ability to extinguish Class AB and C fires that are common in homes. Each brand and manufacture publish the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each on the fire extinguishers, agents and other related products made by that respective company. You can Click HERE to review the MSDS for the ABC Class, BC Class, Carbon Dioxide and Halotron fire extinguishers.

Can Water be used on a Class C fire in the Kitchen?

Water should never be used on any Class C fires. Water conducts electricity which can make the fire worse by acting like a source of ignition for the fire.

If you don’t have access to a fire extinguisher that can extinguish a Class C fire. Shut off the power to the house so that there is no more electricity fueling the fire, then you may use water to extinguish the fire.

WARNING: You must be 100% sure that there is no more power in the immediate area. If there is still power, the results of throwing water onto the fire/power source may prove fatal.

Are Fire Extinguishers Required on Construction Sites?

Are Fire Extinguishers Required on Construction Sites?

In high school and partly in college, I worked helping build residential homes for my parents and others in our home town. Those in charge, always had a fire extinguisher during the building process. After all, construction sites are the perfect source for a Class A fire. While it is a good idea to have a fire extinguisher or water to extinguish any potential fires, I wondered if it is required to have a fire extinguisher on site?

So, are Fire Extinguishers required on construction sites? Construction sites are required to have firefighting equipment, such as fire extinguishers, be on site that is clearly and easily accessible in the event of a fire.

Whether you opt for a fire extinguisher on site or other means such as water or a hose, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that you have the correct type, size and accessibility to extinguish the fires that may occur at a construction site. Let’s look at the OSHA’s guidelines more below.

OSHA Fire Fighting Equipment Guidelines

Fire Extinguishers: Portable fire extinguishers are a great option to have at a construction site. Workers will have the ability to quickly grab the fire extinguisher and go to where the fire originates.

In regards to OSHA’s fire extinguishers requirements:

“A fire extinguisher, rated not less than 2A, shall be provided for each 3,000 square feet of the protected building area, or major fraction thereof. Travel distance from any point of the protected area to the nearest fire extinguisher shall not exceed 100 feet.”

It is important to note that fire extinguishers need to be inspected and maintained to ensure they work properly.

Note: If you would like to better understand the UL ratings of a fire extinguisher, consider reading our other article titled, “Fire Extinguisher UL Rating: What it Means

55-Gallon Open Drum: If you do not want to use a fire extinguisher on site, you are also allowed to use a 55-gallon open drum filled with water along with pails to scoop up the water and take it to the location of the fire. I have never seen this at any of the construction sites that I have worked on.

In fact, I can picture a worker taking a bucket for a project and to never bring it back.

In regard to OSHA’s fire 55-gallon open drums requirements:

“One 55-gallon open drum of water with two fire pails may be substituted for a fire extinguisher having a 2A rating.”

Garden Hose: Many residential home builders opt for the use of a garden hose over a fire extinguisher or a 55-gallon open drum due to the convince and cost. For some, it is just one less item that they need to maintain and bring to each construction site.

In regard to OSHA’s fire Garden Hose requirements:

“A 1/2-inch diameter garden-type hose line, not to exceed 100 feet in length and equipped with a nozzle, may be substituted for a 2A-rated fire extinguisher, providing it is capable of discharging a minimum of 5 gallons per minute with a minimum hose stream range of 30 feet horizontally. The garden-type hose lines shall be mounted on conventional racks or reels. The number and location of hose racks or reels shall be such that at least one hose stream can be applied to all points in the area.”

Selecting the Best Type of Fire Extinguisher for Your Job Site

Class A Fires (Wood, Paper, Cloths, Trash, etc.) are the most common types of fires to occur at construction sites. Which is why OSHA requires a minimum of a 2A fire extinguisher for every 3,000 square feet of the construction site. However, it is not the only type of fire that may occur.

Construction sites that use more than five gallons of flammable or combustible liquids or five gallons of flammable gasses need to use Class B rated fire extinguishers. Construction sites that involve a high amount of electrical equipment or wiring at the site need to use a Class C rated fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguishers that are rated for Class A, B and C fires are the most versatile type of fire extinguishers and meet OSHA’s guidelines for fire extinguishers for those respective fires.

Click HERE to learn more about which type of fire extinguisher you need for your construction site.

Portable Fire Extinguishers VS Wheeled Fire Extinguishers

Portable Fire Extinguishers: Weighing between 2.5 pounds and 30 pounds (agent capacity), portable fire extinguishers are small and designed to hang on a wall or fit in the trunk of a car. They can be used for Class A, B and C fires.

Portable Fire Extinguishers are great for smaller fires. Most businesses, homes, workplaces and public places are fitted with portable fire extinguishers due to their ease of use, affordability and portability.

To learn more about portable fire extinguishers, read our other article titled, “Understanding Portable Fire Extinguishers – Use and Limitations.”.

Wheeled Fire Extinguishers: Weighing between 50 to 350 pounds (agent capacity), wheeled fire extinguishers are designed to combat larger fires. Designed with a well-balanced steel frame and large rubber or steel wheels for easy transport by a single worker through doorways, around corners and into hard to reach places. Depending on the size of extinguisher, it comes with a 25-50 foot hose to extend the reach in extinguishing any Class A, B or C fire.

Larger construction sites may want to use wheeled fire extinguishers as they are designed to combat larger fires that may occur.

To learn more about Wheeled fire extinguishers, read our other article titled, “Wheeled Fire Extinguishers – Specifications.

Fire Safety Tips for Construction sites

  • Training: All workers should be trained on how to use a fire extinguisher. There are a lot of training videos and courses offered online. However, I highly recommend contacting your local fire department and seeing what training they may offer. Some fire departments may even allow you to practice with a fire extinguisher and provide you feedback on your performance. The opportunity to practice provides an experience beyond a lecture and will hopefully enhance your use of an extinguisher.

    If local training is not an option, read our other article on how to use fire extinguishers titled, “How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher”.

  • Inspections: If you are using a fire extinguisher at the job site, ensure that it has been properly maintained by a certified inspector. Not only is this considered good practice, but OSHA requires it.
  • Evacuation Plan: Employers should have an evacuation plan in place in case of a fire. Each worker should be aware of the plan and know what his or her role. Some things to consider when creating the evacuation plan are:
  • Where to evacuate to?
  • Who is in charge? (each shift should have a team evacuation leader)
  • Establishment of a Buddy System
  • Knowing when to combat or extinguish the fire and when to evacuate
  • When and how to receive more training.

Which Public Safety Workers Should Wear High Visibility Reflective Safety Apparel?

Which Public Safety Workers Should Wear High Visibility Reflective Safety Apparel?

There are many settings in which individuals are subjected to conditions that predispose them to potential injury from contact with moving vehicles or equipment. In these settings there is the need for high visibility reflective apparel which offers added protection for the individual by alerting the drivers of vehicles or operators of equipment to their presence and the need for extra precaution.

The Federal Highway Administrations Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requires all workers operating on or near any public access roadway, to wear high-visibility safety apparel. This includes construction sites, maintenance work, utility workers, emergency and incident or enforcement responders, and volunteers. In addition, the *ANSI/ISEA 107 – 2015 revision designates for the “type” of high visibility safety apparel garment specific to the workers specific work environment.

  • Type “O” (Off-road) garments/vests are for occupational workers in an environment with moving equipment or vehicles but are not required by MUTCD to wear high visibility safety apparel.

  • Type “R” (Roadway) garments/vests are for occupational workers in an environment with moving equipment or vehicles and are directly exposed to roadway traffic.

  • Type “P” (Public Safety – Police, Fire, EMS) garments/vests provide for additional options for fire, police, and EMS personnel because to the need to be able to differentiate between these responders, and for them to carry and have immediate access to different equipment on their person.
*The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity system that helps industry in the U.S. marketplace while helping to ensure the safety and health of individuals.

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is the leading association for developing standards for personal protective equipment to help workers in hazardous circumstances or potentially harmful environments to remain safe.

 

These different categories of high visibility safety apparel allow the individual to choose the proper garments according to their unique work environment and anticipated risks. As part of this, each category identifies the minimum amount of background and retroreflective material used and specify placement of retroreflective material as well as any specific technical or functional requirements for the garment design.

These types of garment requirements are further broken down into classes 1, 2, or 3.

  • Class 1 and 2 garments: specific to vests and shirts. These apparels usually come in orange, yellow, and lime colors.
  • Class 3 garments: specific to a vest with Class E pants ensembles, coveralls, outerwear and rainwear with additional detailed requirements. These apparels usually are more vibrant fluorescent colors and contain certain reflective materials for high visibility during night projects or when there’s high traffic volume.

What are the Differences Between a Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 ANSI Safety Vest?

  • Class 1 ANSI Safety Vest: These vests are for workers whose job places them in the lowest risk category. This includes jobs where traffic is slow, less than 25 mph, and work is taking place at a relatively safe distance from the traffic. These vests must have a minimum of 155 square inches of reflective tape and the strip must go around the middle of the vest as well as over the shoulder. Sleeves are not required with this class of vest.
  • Class 2 ANSI Safety Vest: These vests are for work environments that pose a greater risk than that of the Class 1. For example, these requirements include traffic moving less than 50 mph but greater than 25 mph. These vests must be larger in size as they require that more high visibility and reflective areas be visible. They must provide at least 775 inches of safety yellow or orange background material and 201 square inches of reflective stripping. Examples of those required to wear Class 2 vests are school crossing guards, airport baggage handlers, and survey crews.
  • Class 3 ANSI Safety Vest: These class vests are larger in size as they require greater surface area coverage of protective material because the workers are in the most dangerous work environments. These vests are worn by workers where nearby traffic is traveling in excess of 50 mph. It also is for use by emergency personnel or tow truck operators working in hazardous conditions such as during a hurricane or blizzard or other conditions where visibility is at a minimum.

 

Are the Garments Labeled According to the “Type” of Garment for Which it is Certified?

Any garment will be labeled according to the claim or standard the garment manufacturer is making for the garment. If multiple claims are made, the garment will be labeled accordingly.

What are the Primary Purposes for Requiring Workers to Wear High Visibility Safety Vests?

The obvious initial answer is to improve worker visibility during the day, in low-light conditions, and at night, really causing them to “stand out”. The high visibility reflective apparel is effective in alerting others to their presence and has shown to encourage others (those involved in the extra dynamic of moving vehicles and equipment) to take extra precautions when around the worker.

The protective apparel must also be designed for functionality so the job can be effectively performed, and for comfort so as not to induce excessive fatigue or compliance to wearing the garments. Many of the vests for example would need to be constructed of light-weight, breathable material to help prevent from overheating when working in hot or humid environments. Some safety vests would need to be designed for easy “breakaway” to prevent snagging by passing equipment that could catch and pull the individual.

The specific design should also designate through appropriate image the individual wearing the garment – police, firefighter, EMS, construction worker, etc. In addition, these public safety personnel must carry unique tools or equipment that must be easily accessible if the circumstance required.

Another consideration is that of liability. If management enforces the “worker wear requirement rules” of the protective apparel, data shows that the number of accidents decrease. If workers themselves are conscientious to adhere to the rules being enforced by management, then all involved parties know that they have complied by industry mandates and are on good ground for compliance.

Buckeye Model K-150-SP 125 LB. Purple K Model Number 30310

Buckeye Model K-150-SP 125 LB. Purple K Model Number 30310

Buckeye Model K-150-SP 125 LB. Purple K Model Number 30310The Buckeye Model K-150-SP is a Dry Chemical wheeled fire extinguishers made by Buckeye.  Online Safety Depot carries several models of wheeled Purple K fire extinguishers with the Buckeye Model K-150-SP being the most popular. Designed with a 50-foot hose, and well-balanced design allows for a single person to transport the unit through doorways, around corners and into hard to reach places to extinguish any Class B and Class C fires.

The Buckeye Model K-150-SP can be fitted with a tow loop on the top of the unit making it easy to transport by any vehicle that has a hitch installed. Additionally, the Buckeye K-150-SP is rechargeable and can be modified to a stationary unit.

Wheeled fire extinguishers, such as the Buckeye Model K-150-SP, can be found in warehouses, commercial buildings, chemical plants, construction sites, storage units, refineries, shipboard use, research buildings, military bases, loading docks, and any other building, businesses or area where a more significant Class B and C fires may occur.

Buckeye Model K-150-SP Features:

Agent Capacity
The Buckeye K-150-SP has an agent capacity of 125lb. The extinguisher uses a potassium bicarbonate-based agent which is designed for Class B, and Class C fires.

 UL Rating:
The Buckeye Model K-150-SP has a UL Rating of 320-B:C. The breakdown of the UL rating for the Model K-150-SP would look like this:

A = The Buckeye Model K-150-SP is not suitable for Class A Fires.

B = The number 320 that precedes the letters B:C is the number of square feet that the extinguisher can cover or is able to extinguish. Therefore, a 320B equates to being able to extinguish 320 square feet of a Class B fire.

C = The C in the equation means the agent is non-conductive and could also be used on a Class C fire.

Note: While the Buckeye Model K-150-SP can be used on Class C fires, It is not designed to be used for fires that involve sensitive electrical equipment. The agent, potassium bicarbonate-based agent may damage the electrical equipment.

If you want to understand the UL Rating better, consider reading our other article titled, “Fire Extinguisher UL Rating: What it Means?

Type
The Buckeye Model K-150-SP is a Dry Chemical, Purple K fire extinguisher.

Discharge Time and Range
The Buckeye Model K-150-SP has a discharge time of 54 seconds of continual spray and a range of 30-40 feet. However, environmental conditions such as the wind, temperature, or humidity may affect the effective discharge range.

Unit Weight
The Buckeye Model K-150-SP weighs a total of 300 lbs (136 kg).

Dimensions
The Buckeye Model K-150-SP is 51 inches (128 cm) in height, 26 inches (66 cm) in width and 42 inches (105 cm) in depth.

Hose
The Buckeye Model K-150-SP comes fitted with a 50-foot hose and is .75 inches in diameter.

Wheel Type and Size
The Buckeye Model K-150-SP comes with Semi-pneumatic rubber wheels that are 16 inches (40.6 cm) by 4 inches (10.2 cm).

 Additional Features:
– Made in the USA
– Stored pressure unit
– USCG Approved
– DOT/TC compliant
– Tow loop option available
– All metal valve and discharge nozzles
– Epoxy powder coating
– Meets the ANSI/UL 299 and ANSI/UL 711 standards

Related Questions

Is there a smaller Purple K Wheeled Fire Extinguisher available?
Yes. Buckeye fire equipment makes 50 lbs wheeled Carbon Dioxide fire extinguisher that is smaller than the Buckeye Model K-150-SP.
K-50-SP Purple K (Buckeye)

OS K-50-SP Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)

Can the Buckeye Model K-150-SP be used on oil rigs or boat docks?
While the Buckeye Model K-150-SP built to withstand harsh environmental conditions, fire extinguishers that are used offshore on oil rigs or along the coastline where the extreme weather environment may cause rust or damage to the fire extinguisher, it is recommended that an offshore fire extinguisher is used.

The following purple K wheeled fire extinguishers are designed specifically for offshore use.
OS K-50-SP Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-150-SP Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-150-PT Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-150-RG Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-150-RG Purple K “31570” (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-150-RG Purple K “31580” (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-350-PT “32380” Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-350-PT “32390” Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-350-RG “32360” Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)
OS K-350-RG “32370” Purple K (Buckeye Offshore)

 

Offshore fire extinguishers are coated with several extra layers of galvanized compound to prevent rust and corrosion that may occur.

To better understand the difference between the standard wheeled fire extinguishers and the offshore wheeled fire extinguishers, consider reading our other article titled, “Offshore Fires: Fire Extinguisher Placement & Protection from the Environment.”

Can the Buckeye K-150-SP be used on sensitive electrical equipment?
NO! Only fire extinguishers that use residue-free extinguishing agents, (clean agents) are suitable for sensitive electrical equipment. The two clean agent fire extinguisher types are Carbon Dioxide, and Halotron I. Purple K fire extinguishers (potassium bicarbonate-based agent) may further damage the electrical components.

Read our other article titled, “What Type of Fire Extinguisher is Best for Sensitive Electrical Equipment?” or “Purple K Class Fire Extinguishers | Use, Classification and Model Designs. ”

Permanent vs Temporary Fire Escape Ladders for Your Home

Permanent vs Temporary Fire Escape Ladders for Your Home

The other day I was doing some research on fire escape ladders for a rental unit I was looking to purchase that had an upper level. Specifically, I wanted to know which type of fire escape ladder would be best for the rental unit I was considering. This is what I learned.

Home fire escape ladders come in two primary models, permeant and temporary. Permanent fire escape ladders are housed in a box that is secured in the wall between the studs and below the window frame. When needed, you simply open the window, remove the cover, pull out the bound up ladder, and toss it out the window where it rolls downward. Temporary fire escape ladders come bound up and can be stored anywhere. When needed, you grab the ladder, secure the hooks under the window frame, toss it out the window where it rolls downward.

Permanent or temporary fire escape ladders are an important safety feature for homes or rental units with an upper level. However, there are a number of things to consider when buying a fire escape ladder.

Permanent fire escape ladders are easier in the sense that in the case of a fire emergency they are already set up just below the escape window ready for use. You do not have to worry about finding and retrieving it from storage location and securing it to the window frame when time is of the essence. However, they cannot be moved to a different location in the house for a safer exit during a fire as they are secured to the box installed in the wall. Permanent fire escape ladders, while available for homes, are more commonly found on commercial buildings or apartments with multiple stories.

Installing a permanent fire escape ladder is fairly easily accomplished and can be performed by anyone with knowledge of wall studs and sheet rock cutting.

Temporary fire escape ladders can be stored directly in the room of its intended use, or stored in a specific location that is easily accessible and known to everyone in the family. It is recommended that the ladder be stored close to the window and easily seen from anywhere in the room. Some home owners choose to place a temporary escape ladder in each bedroom. Because they require some assembly or securement to the window frame, all family members should be educated to the process of setting it up to ensure efficient and effective use.

Practice should also be given to rolling the ladder out the window and climbing down to the ground. This can help calm the fears of children (and I guess adults) should the need for use be required at some time.

When picking the best ladder for your house, make sure that it is the right height for your home that it will extend to the ground or only a few feet short. It should also be stable enough to support the weight of the heaviest person who would be using it. In fact, many ladders are qualified to handle weights up to 1,000 pounds. Look for anti-slip features on the rungs for added safety, especially for younger kids or the elderly.

One of the frustrations with temporary fire escape ladders is that they can become tangled if not properly stored, or if when used rolled out in an erratic manner. It is good practice to periodically and regularly set up the ladder to ensure memory of the process so that there are no surprises during an emergency. Always take the time to fold it carefully when returning it to storage to avoid tangles. Test the ladder on different windows for efficient use in any room. If a single ladder is to be used for the entire upstairs, select the room that makes the most sense. One where there are not potential obstacles to set up and climbing down. You should be aware of power lines, trees or bushes, or any obstacle that could make climbing all the way to the ground difficult.

Before purchasing Check List:

  • Check height of the ladder
  • Check depth and length of the window hook to make sure it fits your windows
  • Check the weight that it can hold ( of 1,000 lbs. recommended)
  • DO NOT RELY ON COST: When it comes to fire escape ladders, research has shown that a more expensive ladder does not necessarily mean better quality. It can be important to read reviews on the product you are considering purchasing and always thoroughly check the specifications to make sure they fit your specific needs. Make sure you try your ladder after purchase. It should prove to be effective and comfortable for your use. If not, you should return it.

Installing, or securing a temporary fire escape ladder is done during the actual emergency. Again, this is why practice in doing so is important.

Related Questions:

How much do escape ladders cost?
Temporary escape ladders usually range in price from $30-$100 dollars. 

Are there fire escape ladders for commercial buildings?
Yes, most commercial buildings have permanent ladders. However, depending on the size of the structure, they can come in models that are permanently secured to the outside of the building. These models are metal and typically one solid structure.

Are there fire escape ladders for three story houses?
Yes! Check the length description on the box before you purchase and make sure that it will work for your home.

 

What Type of Fire Extinguisher is Best for Sensitive Electrical Equipment

What Type of Fire Extinguisher is Best for Sensitive Electrical Equipment

Every year, thousands of electrical fires occur in homes, data centers, server rooms, computer rooms, or any other environment where electrical equipment is present. Computers, servers, databases and many different electrical types of equipment are classified as Sensitive Electrical Equipment” and requires the use of specialized fire extinguishers to extinguish the fire without destroying or corroding the Sensitive Equipment.

What is the best type of fire extinguisher for Sensitive Electrical Equipment? Electrical fires require a class C fire extinguisher. For sensitive electrical equipment, such as computers, servers and data centers, Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers, Halotron I are residue-free and easy to clean-up after it has been used and is nonconductive and doesn’t destroy the equipment.

Not all fires involve sensitive equipment or require a fire extinguishers that use residue-free agents like the Carbon Dioxide or Halotron I. Fires that occur in the home, such as the electrical outlets and cords, home appliances, or even the electrical panel box can use ABC Class Fire Extinguishers which are more versatile and better suit to extinguish most fires that may occur in the home.

Four Main Types of Fire Extinguishers

ABC Class Fire Extinguishers

The ABC class fire extinguishers are incredibly versatile due to its ability to extinguish Class A, Class B, and Class C fires as such, it is the most popular fire extinguisher in today’s market. The ABC class fire extinguishers are commonly found in most homes, businesses and public settings where Class A, Class B or Class C fires may occur.

To learn more about ABC Class Fire Extinguishers, consider reading our other article titled, “ABC Class Fire Extinguishers | Use, Classification and Model Designs.”

Halotron I

Halotron Fire extinguishers are one of the two fire extinguishers in today’s market that is designed to be used on sensitive electrical equipment as the agent used is considered a clean agent. However, the Halotron I Fire extinguishers can extinguish Class A, Class B, and Class C fires.

To learn more about Halotron Fire Extinguishers, consider reading our other article titled, “Halotron Fire Extinguishers | Use, Classification and Model Designs.”

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide (C02) Fire Extinguishers uses a clean agent (C02) to extinguish fires. The Carbon Dioxide is residue-free making it an excellent option for sensitive equipment. Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish Class B and Class C fires and are available in portable and wheeled designs.

To learn more about Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers, consider reading our other article titled, “Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers (C02) | Use, Classification and Model Designs”.

Purple K

Purple K Fire extinguishers contain a dry chemical, known as Potassium Bicarbonate, which is NOT a residue-free or considered to be a clean agent for sensitive electrical equipment. Purple K Fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish Class B and Class C fires.

Class B and C fires are common in gas stations, power plants, bars, auto repair shops, airports or aircraft service stations, industrial kitchens, warehouses, and any other area where electrical or flammable fires may occur.

To learn more about Purple K Fire Extinguishers, consider reading our other article titled, “Purple K Fire Extinguishers | Use, Classification and Model Designs.”

To better understand the types of fire extinguishers and the associated classification of fires, review the charts below.

Carbon Dioxide and Halotron I fire extinguishers are designed in Portable and wheeled (On and Offshore models) Below are some of the fire extinguishers that are currently available on OnlineSafetyDepot.com website.

Carbon Dioxide – Portable

Buckeye 5-pound Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher

Buckeye 10-pound Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher

Buckeye 15-pound Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher

Buckeye 20-pound Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher

To view all other Portable C02 Fire Extinguishers, please click HERE.

Carbon Dioxide – Wheeled

C-50-SE Carbon Dioxide (Buckeye)

C-100-SE Carbon Dioxide (Buckeye)

All Carbon Dioxide (C02) fire extinguishers are UL and ULC listed and meet the DOT and Transport Canada requirements and standards.

Halotron I – Portable

Badger Extra 2.5-pound Halotron I Extinguisher with Wall Hook

Badger Extra 5-pound Halotron I Extinguisher with Wall Hook

Badger Extra 11-pound Halotron I Extinguisher with Wall Hook

Badger Extra 11-pound Halotron I Extinguisher with Wall Hook

Halotron – Wheeled (On and Offshore models)

W-65 Halotron (Buckeye)

W-150 Halotron (Buckeye)

OS W-65 Halotron (Buckeye Offshore)

OS W-150 Halotron (Buckeye Offshore)

All Halotron fire extinguishers are UL and ULC listed and meet the DOT and Transport Canada requirements and standards. Additionally, all offshore fire extinguishers are USCG approved when used with certified marine bracket.

Related Questions

Do Military bases with sensitive equipment use Halotron or Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers?

Yes! All governmental agencies that use sensitive equipment will use either a Halotron or Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers to ensure that their computer isn’t destroyed by either the fire or the agent used to extinguish the fire.

Is the Halotron or Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers better for offshore oil and gas rigs?

Halotron fire extinguishers are the only option for offshore oil, and gas rigs as the parts and components of the fire extinguishers are specifically designed and coated for the conditions that occur in the ocean and along the coastal areas.

Conclusion

If you have a room or business that uses sensitive equipment, then I highly recommend installing either Halotron or Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers, whichever fits your needs best, in a place that users can quickly and easily access the fire extinguishers if needed.

Ensure that all employees know how to extinguish a fire using the PASS method described in our other article titled, “How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher.”