How To Choose A Fire Extinguisher

No one plans to be the victim of a fire at their place of work; and with all of the potential loss of important equipment, information, and business downtime, it can be especially damaging.  It’s important to remember that accidents do happen, and it’s best to be prepared should this situation arise.

One thing to be mindful of is that different types of buildings will require different types of fire extinguishers.  Use the information below to help you make an informed choice when choosing the right fire extinguisher for your needs.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

To fight the different types of fires that may occur, there are different types of fire extinguishers.  Each extinguisher has its own unique characteristics and capabilities.

The three main types of portable fire extinguishers include:

  1. Water Extinguishers – these units are filled about two-thirds with water and then pressurized with air.
  2. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguishers – in this style, the extinguishing contents are pressurized with CO2.
  3. Dry Chemical Extinguishers – these extinguishers discharge a blanket of fine powder, which creates a break between the fuel and the oxygen in the air.

If you’re unclear about which type of extinguisher fits your building’s needs, consult a third party like Bulldog Fire and Security to review your options.

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How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

The National Fire Protection Association recommends utilizing the PASS methodology when handling a fire extinguisher.  If confronted with the need to use a fire extinguisher, keep the following in mind:

  • P – Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
  • A – Aim low towards the base of the fire.
  • S – Squeeze the trigger or top handle.
  • S – Sweep the fire area with the extinguisher’s spray until the fire is completely out.

Fast Facts

Source: Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety

  • Use the proper size of extinguisher.
  • Install extinguishers according to the height requirements stated in your jurisdiction’s Fire Code.
  • Locate extinguishers so they are readily accessible to employees for immediate use.
  • Make sure that extinguishers are clearly visible, and any location signs are clear.
  • Mark or label all fire extinguishers clearly with the class of fire it is to be used for.
  • Maintain extinguishers in a fully charged and operable condition.
  • Keep extinguishers in the designated places at all times (except during use).
  • Visually inspect portable fire extinguishers monthly.
  • Use a tag on each extinguisher that shows the date of inspection, recharging or servicing, the name of the servicing agency, and the name of the person who did the service.
  • Service portable fire extinguishers at least once a year, or when the monthly inspection indicates servicing is necessary.
  • Keep written records showing maintenance items such as serial number and type of extinguishers, location, inspection date, description of tests, date of next inspection, date of annual servicing, comments, and inspector’s signature.
  • Only allow service by trained persons with suitable testing equipment and facilities.

Learn More

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Choosing the proper fire extinguisher in your building is an important factor in keeping the building and its occupants safe.

For 19 years, Bulldog Fire and Security has been an expert in fire alarm system installation and service, having installed a variety of systems throughout Southwestern, Ontario.

To learn more about fire alarm systems and installation, call us at 1 866 670 1590, email, or fill out the contact information below.

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