Selecting a portable fire extinguisher for your facility is not like buying light bulbs. One size, one type of fire extinguisher will not adequately or safely fit every situation you might encounter in your building(s). To indiscriminately purchase a single size/type of portable could actually introduce an element of risk that could mean the expansion of a fire in progress, or it could result in the death of the person that’s trying to put the fire out.
NFPA 10, published by the National Fire Protection Association of Quincy, MA, requires that the selection of all portable fire extinguishers be made based on the conditions within each setting. In other words, it is not proper, fitting, or safe to arbitrarily purchase a specific type of extinguisher without considering each, individual application.
There are six points of discussion, or consideration, that must be followed when determining the right type of extinguisher to use in each instance:
- Type of fire that is likely to be encounter within each setting.
- What is the size of the fire that you could be dealing with?
- What are, if any of the hazards within the area of operation that could cause a problem?
- Examples that pertain to #3 above, is there any electrical equipment in the area of operation?
- What is the ambient temperature of the area in which a fire extinguisher is to be mounted?
- NFPA 10, Section H.2, contains additional information to be considered when deciding on the right portable fire extinguisher for an application.
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