Fire extinguishers are mandatory for all kinds of buildings. These must be installed to ensure safety of both the people and the assets in the building in case a fire erupts.
However, many people get fire extinguishers without having any idea about where these should be placed in the buildings.
If you plan on getting your hands on fire extinguishers and getting them installed in a building, you need to know the right way for their placement to take full advantage of them in case a fire erupts.
Below, we are sharing all that you should know on fire extinguishing with the right kind of placement for the extinguishers:
Why Is Correct Fire Extinguisher Placement Important?
When a fire erupts, your first concern is to save as much of the property and lives from its coverage as you can. This is the reason people get extinguishers installed in the first place.
However, this maximum coverage and safety from the fire is only possible if you have installed the extinguisher at the perfect spot.
In many cases, especially when there are multiple extinguishers installed in the same building, the wrong placement and distance between each can lead them to give minimum output in case of a fire. This does more harm than good – often leading to loss of lives and property.
This is the reason experts seem so concerned about the right placement of extinguishers and suggest being careful when placing these items anywhere.
What Defines the Correct Placement For Fire Extinguishers?
There are a lot of contributing factors, when it comes to defining the best position to install extinguishers in a building. Some of these factors are as follows:
- The kind of building they are being installed in
- The specific fire hazards in those buildings
- The size of those buildings
- The obstacles in those buildings that can stop the extinguishers from working
Other than these, the type and size of extinguishers is also very much a determiner of the right placement for these.
For smaller fires that can be easily handled, portable extinguishers work fine as well. However, since fire spreads easily and fast, it is best to fix the extinguishers at an accessible point instead of putting them somewhere they can’t be reached.
What Kind of Places Need Fire Extinguishers The Most?
Simply stated, fire extinguishers are needed at every place and every building unless it is a residential home.
In some regions of the world, not having fire extinguishers installed in the specified buildings is considered a crime. In these regions, only family homes, duplexes, and manufactured homes are free from the extinguisher placement restrictions.
To count a few, following are the places where installing extinguishers is a must:
- Ambulances and Health Care Occupancies
- Apartments and Tall Residential Buildings
- Assembly Occupancies
- Business Occupancies
- Day-Care Occupancies
- Detention, Prisoners, And Correctional Occupancies
- Educational Occupancies
- Health Care Occupancies
- Hotel And Dormitory Occupancies
- Industrial Occupancies
- Lodging And Rooming House Occupancies
- Mercantile Occupancies
- Occupancies In Special Structures
- Residential Board and Care Occupancies
- Storage Occupancies
Tips On Placing the Fire Extinguishers
Below are some suggestions on placing your fire extinguishers depending on their size and other factors:
- Place the extinguishers where you can easily see and reach them
You might have to quickly reach out to an extinguisher and start it right when the fire erupts. Hence, the extinguisher will only be quickly accessed if you have placed it in an easy to reach location and at a visible point.
- Place the extinguishers In common locations with a lot of people passing by them everyday
When fire erupts, an extinguisher can be triggered to work by anyone. However, if the extinguisher is placed in a room or a closed office, not many will be able to reach out to it. Hence, place it in a hallway, corridor, or by the doors so everyone can easily see these and knows of their location.
- Always keep an extinguisher’s weight in mind when installing it
Heavy extinguishers that weigh more than 40 pounds must be installed at a height no more than 3.5 feet from the ground. This reduces the chances of damage in case the extinguisher drops.
However, extinguisher weighing 40 lbs. or less than that can easily be installed a bit high – for example, around 5 feet above the ground level.
In any case, your extinguisher’s base should have some distance from the ground and must not touch it.
- Install an extinguisher depending on the flammable material present around it
Different fire hazards require different kinds of extinguishers. Hence, make sure you are using an extinguisherthat can easily work on the kind of flammable substance that will be catching the fire around in case of an eruption.
- Keep fire classifications in mind when installing an extinguisher
All fires are classified into one of the five classes – namely A, B, C,D, and K. Theseclassifications are based on the kind of building, its parts, the kind of hazards, and other such factor that might lead a fire to become very easy or very hard to control.
A single extinguisher might stop the fires of different kinds easily. Always make sure to assess the hazards present in your building and then get an extinguisher that can work the best for it.
A single fire extinguisher capable of fighting more than one type of fire, such as a combination of ABC dry chemical extinguisher, may meet the requirements for multiple fire types.
- Ensure distance between the people and the place where extinguisher is installed
Never install an extinguisher – no matter how safe or lightweight it is – right next to an occupied space. There must always be some sort of a distance between the people’s seating area and the extinguisher. The best idea is to install the extinguisher or a wall where no one must sit close to it.
The distance between individual extinguishers is also an essential point. You must keep these extinguishers at a certain distance from one another for them to work the best. This inter-distance is defined by the kind of extinguisher, its size, and the fire category it is made to suit the best.