You probably get peace of mind from the fire extinguisher mounted on the wall of your business. But consider that an extinguisher is only as effective as the person wielding it. Are you still confident the extinguisher could douse a fire when you need it most?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide fire extinguisher training as soon as possible following initial employment (or after designating employees to use firefighting equipment in an emergency) and once a year after that.
IS FIRE EXTINGUISHER TRAINING ALWAYS REQUIRED?
OSHA gives employers three options for complying with fire protection standards:
- OPTION 1: MANDATE A BUILDING-WIDE EVACUATION WHEN THE ALARM SOUNDS
If you choose this option, you are exempt from providing fire extinguisher training. While this may sound like the most straightforward choice upfront, it also puts your business at greater risk of damage if a fire breaks out.
- OPTION 2: DESIGNATE CERTAIN EMPLOYEES TO USE FIREFIGHTING EQUIPMENT
With this option, only designated employees must receive fire extinguisher training. All other employees should be instructed to exit the building when the fire alarm goes off. Those assigned to fire extinguisher duty should also be taught when it’s best to abandon the fight and evacuate to safety.
- OPTION 3: PERMIT ALL EMPLOYEES TO USE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS IN AN EMERGENCY
In this case, every employee must undergo fire extinguisher training. This requires the largest investment, but also offers the greatest peace of mind and protection for your business.
WHAT DOES FIRE EXTINGUISHER TRAINING INVOLVE?
OSHA requires employees to undergo “hands-on” training. As a result, watching an instructional video isn’t enough. You must hire a fire protection company to provide training in person to comply with OSHA regulations.
WHAT ARE THE FOUR STEPS TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER PROPERLY?
Although you must undergo formal fire training to comply with OSHA, it’s helpful to have a general idea of how fire extinguishers work. Just remember to PASS:
- Pull the pin that prevents accidental discharge out of the handle.
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to send fire suppressant flowing through the hose and out the nozzle.
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the flames are completely extinguished.
If you have more questions about fire extinguisher please contact Brazas Fire at 505-889-8999. We provide fire extinguisher sales, maintenance, and testing to businesses in New Mexico.