Simply having fire extinguishers is a great first step to keeping everyone safer in the event of a fire.
However, if they’re not easily accessible, they may not be useful at all. This is why fire extinguisher placement is so important.
Knowing exactly where to place your fire extinguishers could mean the difference between stopping a fire and having to evacuate as the building goes up in flames.
1. Must Be Visible At All Times
The single most important thing to remember is to keep your fire extinguishers visible at all times. The Ontario Fire Code states that any portable extinguishers be mounted so they’re visible at all times. This ensures they’re easier to find in the event of a fire.
In buildings where visibility is obstructed, such as in a warehouse, you must have signs in place that show where fire extinguishers are placed. They should still be visible and not stored in a closet or cabinet. There are a few exceptions to the cabinet rule, but the doors should be clear to still make the fire extinguisher visible.
There are two main requirements for mounting/storing. For optimal fire extinguisher placement, you must use brackets to mount the fire extinguisher on a wall within easy reach.
When mounting, keep the carrying handle between one and one and half metres above the floor. This allows individuals of all heights to reach and lift the fire extinguisher. For larger extinguishers that are heavier, it’s recommended to place them lower as they’re more difficult to lift.
Alternately, you can place fire extinguishers in cabinets with glass doors. This is often the case in areas where you don’t want individuals messing with the extinguisher. Cabinets shouldn’t be locked unless it’s in an area where this is a common problem. For major occupancy buildings, you must ensure there are identical keys to the cabinet at all supervisory or security stations and there is an electrical remote release.
3. Keep Instructions Facing Forward
Fire extinguisher placement doesn’t just apply to location. It also means placing the extinguisher so users can view the instructions easily. If you multiple classifications, such as A, B or C, and they’re placed near each other, you’ll want individuals to be able to see which extinguisher they need.
In most cases, you’ll want to install multi-purpose fire extinguishers if you have multiple hazards in a single area. No matter what type of extinguisher you have, always install the extinguisher with the instructions facing forward.
4. Keep Fire Extinguishers Close
You always want your fire extinguishers to be close by, but this doesn’t mean you need one every few metres. Optimal fire extinguisher placement means keeping extinguishers within easy traveling distance according to the Ontario Fire Code Subsection 6.2.6.
For Class A extinguishers, they should be no more than 25 metres apart. Class B placement requires that fire extinguishers should be no more than 9-15 metres apart, depending upon the size of the extinguisher.
For Class C, the extinguisher should be kept inside or directly outside the room containing the electrical equipment. With Class D, keep the extinguisher no more than 25 metres away from the potential hazard.
Naturally, if you have a high hazard area or there are obstacles in the room, you may want to place an additional fire extinguisher to minimise traveling distance and ensure the best possible scenario for putting out a fire quickly.
5. Know Your Hazards
The most important thing to remember for the best possible fire extinguisher placement is to know your hazards. For instance, you’d want your commercial kitchen extinguishers closer at hand than general fire extinguishers throughout a restaurant.
The more you understand your hazards, the easier it’ll be to place the right type of extinguishers and the right amount within a set space. A combination of multi-purpose and hazard-specific are typically needed and will need to be placed according to the hazard type.
Once your extinguishers are placed, don’t forget about regular maintenance. Contact All Protect Systems to learn more about maintaining your fire extinguishers.