If you are a business owner or you are recently trying to understand more about starting your own business, you will notice that there are many different guidelines and regulations set by law to help ensure the safety of you, your customers, your employees and your building. One of these responsibilities taken on by a business owner is to ensure that fire extinguishers are properly purchased and placed throughout the building.
It is important to check out which areas require which fire extinguishers first. This is important as every extinguisher is created for a specific purpose. Some will be required as a precaution for particular types of materials that you will be working with. We will explore the different fire extinguishers that might be required for labs and hospitals, offices and federal buildings, and restaurants and other food service and manufacturing establishments.
Labs and hospitals will require very specific fire extinguishers such as the Class A extinguisher designed for multi-purpose use with organic materials like paper, cardboard, and plastics. Depending on your environment, you may also be required to carry Class D and Class C appliances. The Class C extinguisher (in the UK) will put out fires involving combustible gases, while the Class D extinguisher is designed to handle fires involving chemicals like combustible metals. Depending on what your hospital or lab is working on at different times may require the purchase of additional extinguishers.
Offices and similar workplaces are a little easier to buy a fire appliance for. They are generally just going to require the standard Class A fire extinguisher, which as mentioned before, can put out many different small fires that may be caused accidentally in the workplace. These buildings should also have a Class E extinguisher (US only) which is designed to be a non conductor of electricity. In case there are ever any electrical fires present in your office or building, you will be able to use this extinguisher safely.
Food service and food manufacturing establishments are notorious for having fires that deal with grease, oil and fats from cooking. Your restaurant for food preparation plant may require a Class F fire appliance (or class K in US) that deals exclusively in fire involving cooking fats and oils. You can safely put out a flaming pan or stop a small grease fire with the Class F extinguisher. Your restaurant may also require a standard extinguisher or two like the Class A to ensure that the dining area is protected as well.
Whatever work environment you are in, you should want your employees to stay safe under your supervision. A great way to do this is to get the right fire extinguisher class that will provide maximum effectiveness. Your individual state or province can assist you more with the exact extinguishers that you may be required to have in your establishment. Make sure that you are following regulations exactly to keep yourself out of trouble regarding both legal fines and accidents.