Fire extinguishers are a safety device that’s always there when you need it, and fortunately, you usually never need one. However, once in a while, there’s a fire. And you or somebody else showed the courage and initiative to use the available extinguisher to put it out. Now you have to deal with fire extinguisher cleanup.
Now, you’ve got a mess and an empty fire safety device, so what do you do? First, you need to clean up the debris resulting from the extinguisher’s discharge. Below is a description of the various types you may have, and how to clean each one. But if you have any doubts or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at All Protect Systems, Inc.
Types of Extinguisher Types and Cleanup
Different types of fires ignite in different environments, and an expert selected your extinguisher for that location. Each kind has different chemicals to put out various fire types, and they all require their own cleanup. The most common types of extinguisher include:
1. Dry Chemical Extinguisher
Using an array of effective fire fighting chemicals including sodium bicarbonate, monoammonium phosphate, and potassium bicarbonate, they’re rated for A, B, and C type fires.
Though excellent in disrupting a fire’s chemical reaction, it leaves behind a toxic powder, which you should clean as soon as possible. You can obtain the best results with the following steps:
Vacuum up any loose debris
Spray any caked-on residue with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and warm water. Wipe with a damp rag.
A 25 to one ratio of hot water to vinegar can neutralize residue from potassium bicarbonate and sodium bicarbonate. Spray it on and wipe with a damp rag.
A paste made from hot water and baking soda neutralizes monoammonium phosphate. Apply liberally and wipe clean with a damp rag.
Clean all affected cooking utensils or dishware as you normally would.
2. Class K Wet Chemical Extinguishers
Designed for the requirements commercial kitchens, wet chemical extinguishers discharge a fine chemical low-PH mist that creates a barrier between a fire’s fuel and its oxygen. Before any more food preparation, clean any residue using the following steps:
Cut power to any appliances.
Wear rubber gloves when cleaning to avoid skin contact with the chemicals.
Wipe the affected area down with a sponge or towel and hot soapy water.
3. Clean Agent Extinguishers
Explicitly designed for putting out electrical fires, clean agent extinguishers emit non-conductive halon and halocarbon agents. They disrupt the fire’s chemical reaction and remove heat. True to their name, their discharge dissipates into the air, and no cleanup is necessary.
4. ATC Foam Extinguisher
Best used for diesel and gasoline fires, ATC foams are also effective on wood and paper fires. Cleanup includes:
Check the MSDS safety sheet for your extinguisher to learn if it contains toxic chemicals.
Use personal protective gear for your hands and eyes if the foam is toxic.
Don’t use water to clean the foam. It will only create more foam.
When to Call a Professional
Not every fire extinguisher cleanup should be considered a DIY job. There are situations when you should call professional cleaners, such as:
The residue covers expensive items
You can’t clean the mess immediately. Permanent damage may occur to your building’s furniture or carpets if you don’t promptly clean the residue.
There’s a threat of the chemical agents entering local water supplies, or your plumbing or HVAC system may be contaminated.
Whatever type of extinguisher you’ve used, recharging or replacing your extinguisher should occur in tandem with your cleanup. Besides being required by the Ontario Fire Code, fire extinguishers are a vital tool in life safety and property protection.
All Protect Systems, Inc can check, inspect, test, refill, or replace any style of fire extinguisher you have. In fact, we can service all of your fire protection needs. Call us today!
According to the second law of thermodynamics, it’s natural for everything to break down and deteriorate all by itself. Fire extinguishers are no exception to this rule. It might still look the same as the day you bought it, looks can be deceiving, and degradation is happening continuously. While the lifespan of your fire extinguisher depends on various factors, you can generally expect them to last between 5-15 years.
5-15 years may seem like a wide discrepancy, but several factors contribute to the expected lifespan of your fire extinguisher. Regular inspections and maintenance by a qualified fire extinguisher technician can take the guesswork out of your vital life safety devices. Conveniently located in Waterloo, Ontario, All Protect Systems Inc serves much of the surrounding area. Call them today to find out how they can help keep your home or business safe.
A time-honored tradition for any product with a life expectancy is always to check the expiration date. Look for a paper tag attached to the handle of the extinguisher. Even if the tag doesn’t explicitly state a date of expiration, it should have some date on it. If that day was more than ten years ago, it’s probably time to replace your unit. If no tag is apparent, there might be a date code imprinted on the equipment. If the numbers don’t make sense, don’t be afraid to look up the model number on the internet and see what information is available.
While not all fire extinguishers have gauges, most do. Look for the indicator on top of the handle. It will show you the amount of pressure left in the tank. They usually have a red (empty) and green (full) section, so as long as the pointer is in the green area, your equipment should have enough material to function correctly.
Hopefully, you keep your fire extinguisher in a safe environment. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. Fires can happen anywhere, and you need to keep extinguishers near the most likely places. Such locations are often subject to physical damage or environmental corrosion of your unit.
Harmful chemicals, extreme temperatures, or other factors can cause the rubber hose or nozzle on your equipment to deteriorate and crack over time. This process occurs slowly, and you probably won’t notice it. Periodic inspections by a trained professional are invaluable in these circumstances.
Your fire extinguisher can also get knocked off its bracket by an inadvertent collision with an enthusiastic employee. Even if you try to mount your extinguishers away from high traffic areas, such accidents are common. Damage to a fire extinguisher may not be evident to the untrained eye. Locking pins go missing. Handles become wobbly or loose, and debris can clog the nozzle. It’s a good idea to assign a specific employee the responsibility of monthly or quarterly inspections of all your life safety equipment.
Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
Some types of fire extinguishers last longer than others. You shouldn’t expect pressurized water, carbon dioxide, and wet chemical extinguishers to last longer than three years. Dry chemical extinguishers, on the other hand, should last at least 12 years. The type of extinguishing agent in your equipment should be visible on your tank.
Fire Extinguishers are the type of thing we tend to ignore until our lives depend on them. Unfortunately, we need to pay attention to them before they become critical for survival. Keep complete records of your maintenance and expiration dates of all your fire extinguishing equipment, and service them when necessary. If you would prefer to delegate this responsibility to a trained professional, call the experts at All Protect Systems Inc. They offer complete solutions to all your property and life safety protection systems.
Fire extinguishers are a vital part of any safe workplace, but not everyone knows how to use them. Proper knowledge and training of how to operate a fire extinguisher could save critical minutes in an emergency, and make the difference in getting employees to safety. Ensure that everyone in your workplace is properly trained on how to use a fire extinguisher, by following a few simple guidelines.
There are two key components to training employees
on how to use fire extinguishers – making sure that training is done correctly
and consistently. Correct training means having a skilled instructor who
understands the technical equipment and fire code regulations and can answer
any questions your staff may have. Consistent training involves having regular
meetings and updates to refresh workers’ knowledge of the equipment.
We recommend bringing in a fire safety
professional to provide fire extinguisher training. The correct use of a fire
extinguisher should include knowledge of the P.A.S.S. system, which is an
acronym for “Pass, Aim, Squeeze, Swap.” Make sure that you and your staff are
comfortable with these four steps:
Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher.
Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the trigger in a controlled manner.
Sweep the nozzle of the fire extinguisher from side to side to
cover the entire area.
We strongly suggest employees commit the P.A.S.S.
system to memory, and that you or a department supervisor test your employees
on a regular basis. However, operating instructions for fire extinguishers
should also be clearly visible for anyone who may be a position to use the fire
extinguishers in your workplace. Section 22.214.171.124 (1) of the Ontario Fire Code requires
that portable fire extinguishers be mounted so they are visible and accessible
at all times, while Section 126.96.36.199 states that operating instructions for extinguishers
should face outward for visibility when extinguishers are located in cabinets, shelves
or wall recesses.
But there is more to fire extinguisher safety than just knowing how to operate the extinguisher. Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
(WSPS) recommends that proper fire
extinguisher training should include learning the locations of extinguishers, the
types of fire most likely to occur in the workplace and the proper
extinguishers to use in each instance, markings on fire extinguishers, the
importance of sounding fire alarms, health and safety hazards, protective
equipment and more.
WSPS provides resources on fire extinguisher safety, including consulting
services and online courses. The team at All Protect Systems
Inc. can also
provide information about resources and training for employee fire safety.
Consistency is important when it comes to training both new and old employees. Training
should be scheduled regularly in the workplace, at a minimum of once a year. Retraining
can be scheduled as often as needed. Look at each training session as an
opportunity to build confidence in your staff’s emergency skills. Fire safety
training should also be included in the training and orientation of all new
Remember that different people learn in different ways, so be prepared to
provide more than one method of training. Hands-on training is always
effective, allowing employees to handle and operate the fire extinguishers
themselves. However, it’s also helpful to provide written instructions, links
to videos, and the opportunity to talk one-one-one with a fire safety expert,
so staff can absorb knowledge in the way that works for them.
A workplace emergency, like a fire, can be a
stressful and chaotic time for both employees and supervisors. Proper training
about fire procedures and equipment can help everyone to handle the crisis
safely and smoothly. Contact the team at All Protect Systems Inc. if you
have any questions about fire extinguisher training, equipment or workplace
safety. We’ll be happy to work with you to make your workplace a safer place
for your employees.
There are several different fire extinguishers, as there are different
types of fire. The extinguisher must use a product that is suited to the
material that is being burned, such as metal, paper, plastic or wood.
It is important to establish the classification of the fire very quickly
so as to be able to work out what needs to be done to fight it.
Types of fire
Fires fall into five different types named A, B, C, D and K, depending
on the substance or material that is the site of the fire.
Class A fires involve standard combustible material such as cloth,
paper, plastics, rubber or wood. This creates embers that result in the
production of either a quick combustion including flames or a slow combustion
that is actually flameless.
Class B fires involve gases, lacquers, liquids, oil or paints that are
combustible or flammable and burn without producing any smouldering or flames.
Class C fires involve live electrical devices such as appliances, power
tools or motors.
Class D fires involve metals that are combustible such as the likes of
magnesium, potassium, sodium and titanium. These fires can be especially
hazardous as they may explode upon exposure to water.
Class K fires involve fats within cooking appliances or cooking oils
that are combustible, and are actually the most common form of fire.
The difference between the fires makes it all the more important to
ensure you choose the correct fire extinguisher if you intend to try to fight
The importance of choosing the
correct fire extinguisher
Businesses can choose a variety of different fire extinguishers,
including ones that are low hazard, high hazard or medium hazard. Low hazard
fire extinguishers are usually suitable for areas such as the guest areas in
hotels and traditional offices.
High hazard fire extinguishers can be helpful in manufacturing
environments or other any form of business that may make use of flammable
liquids. Medium hazard fire extinguishers are best suited for the likes of
storage areas, car showrooms and light manufacturing environments.
Portable fire extinguisher types
Portable fire extinguishers have different capabilities, limitations and
individual characteristics. The three main varieties of portable fire
extinguisher are water extinguishers, CO2 extinguishers and dry chemical
Fire extinguishers that use water are composed of two-thirds water which
is then pressurized with the use of air. These extinguishers are ideal for use
with Class A fires as they able to remove the heat from the materials that are
on fire. Water should never be used in electrical fires as water conducts
electricity and will increase the danger of electrocution.
C02 (carbon dioxide) fire extinguishers uses, as the name suggests,
pressurised CO2 to put out fires. CO2 fire extinguishers can be used on Class B
and Class C fires. The CO2 actually blankets the fire, displacing the oxygen
and thus stopping the reaction on the surface. CO2 fire extinguishers only have
an average range and last between ten to thirty seconds at the most, making it
important to be thorough.
C02 fire extinguishers are not advised for use in confined areas as it
can displace the oxygen within the air as well as the fire, making it hard to
Dry chemical extinguishers are commonly available and are marked for the
fire class they are intended to put out (which can include Class A, B and C).
Fine powder is discharged in a blanket to break up the oxygen and the fuel and
stop the chemical reaction. These extinguishers also have an average range and
accurate use is essential.
Fire extinguishers should only be used after everyone on the premises
has been alerted of the emergency and are leaving the building, the fire
department has been called and safe exit from the building has been assured.
Fires happen at an alarming rate, with the official figures only further
emphasizing just how important it actually is for businesses to have strict
fire prevention and safety measures in place. Such measures have been embraced
by Canada, the United States and many other countries all over the world,
because there is no safer way to deal with fire than to prevent one from
happening in the first place.
To this end, fire departments conduct annual inspections of buildings in
order to ensure they are in compliance with current legal standards in regards
to fire safety and to assess and mitigate any potential fire hazards in such
properties. The way in which such inspections are performed by fire inspector
can however be different depending on the area, which only makes it all the
more important for businesses to ensure that all areas of inspection are up to
What will be checked?
Things that fire inspectors are likely to check during annual fire
safety inspections include the likes of the condition of equipment pertaining
to fire safety such as emergency lighting, fire alarms and sprinkler systems.
Other things that should be inspected during annual fire safety
inspections include fire hazards, potential access for fire fighters in the
event a fire does break out on the premises and any life safety issues.
Many facilities run into trouble during annual fire inspections due to
the condition of their fire extinguishers, which may be inoperable, placed in
positions that are hard to see or find, or which may simply not be present in
It is vital that all fire extinguishers on the premises be hung in the
correct position and that there are enough extinguishers to comply with the
fire safety code requirement. A lot of businesses actually fail to realise that
their fire extinguishers have to be inspected and tagged on an annual basis,
but if a well trained Fire Protection Company such as All Protect Systems
performs this service, then this aspect of the annual fire inspection should be
passed with no problems.
Another thing that should be inspected during an annual fire safety
inspection is the state of the emergency lighting on the premises. If a
building is plunged into darkness during any kind of emergency situation, and
the emergency lighting fails to switch on when it is supposed to do so, the
result can be panic that will make the situation even more perilous for
Thus an inspection of the emergency lighting in a building should be
carried out on an annual basis, usually at the same time as the annual inspection
of the fire extinguishers.
An annual fire safety inspection should also see an inspection carried
out on the sprinkler system of a building, in addition to an internal
inspection that should take place every five years. A Fire Protection Company
such as All Protect Systems will be able to advise your company’s maintenance
crew on the minimum requirements that your sprinkler system must be able to
meet in order to pass an annual fire safety inspection.
An annual fire inspection will inevitably check to make sure that all
exit doors are easy to open from within the building, as seconds can mean live
lost or saved during an emergency situation such as a fire. It is imperative
than an exit door does not need a key or access code to be opened, and that it
is not blocked in any way.
The same issue with obstructions also applies to the likes of aisles,
pathways, stairways and walkways, all of which must be clear and the blocking
of any emergency egress in any way will result in automatic failure of an
annual fire inspection.
Talk to All Protect Systems today in order to ensure your building is in compliance of fire safety codes and will pass an annual fire safety inspection.
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.