Some Important Things to Remember About Having Fire Extinguishers in an Office

10 March 2016
 Categories: Environmental, Blog

Having fire extinguishers in an office is usually legally required in most areas, and it may be good for an office manager to consider going past legal requirements when it comes to the number of extinguishers available so you know you'll always have enough if a fire should break out. However, just having a few extinguishers is seldom enough to keep the office safe in case of a fire; note a few other important things to remember about having fire extinguishers in an office so you know they're always accessible and ready for use.

1. Where they're placed

It's usually recommended that an employee need not travel more than 50 to 75 feet to reach an extinguisher, but this distance is not the only consideration when it comes to where extinguishers are placed. Consider where fires might actually break out in your office when placing extinguishers and how truly accessible they are; for example, an extinguisher in a manager's office may be less than 50 feet from the employee cubicles, but if the manager's office is often closed and locked, it isn't really accessible. You might place an extinguisher by the front entrance but if there is a back door where employees go to smoke, it might be more likely that a fire would start in that area from a carelessly tossed cigarette.

2. Size and weight

Getting a larger extinguisher that can manage a larger fire may seem like a very good idea when buying extinguishers for the office, but consider how easily someone could actually manage the extinguisher itself. Very heavy extinguishers may be too heavy to even lift from their storage brackets on the wall, much less have an employee use long enough to extinguish a blaze. Note the actual weight of an extinguisher before you buy it and consider something light enough to be useable by everyone in the office.

3. Type

Extinguishers have a classification for the type of fire they can manage, and you may want to invest in more than one type for your office, depending on the fire risk for your building. As an example, if your building is older and the wiring is outdated, and no one in the office smokes, you might be at risk for an electrical fire more so than a fire in a trashcan that starts from a cigarette butt. Choose more than one type if necessary rather than relying on generic classifications to keep your staff safe during a fire.