As a building owner, it’s your job to provide a safe work environment for your tenants. One aspect of that would include ensuring you have the correct number of fire extinguishers within your building. You must also have those extinguishers located in the right spot. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) outlines your pertinent details.
Fire Extinguishers Based on Business Type
Depending on the type of industry your business falls within, you should have a specific number of fire extinguishers within your building. The amount of extinguishers needed is based on the square footage of your building and fire risk classification. Some businesses, such as restaurants, have cooking appliances and may need more fire extinguishers nearby than a retail clothing business, for example, that has fewer fire hazards within its four walls.
Maximum Travel Distance Based on Extinguisher Class
When determining how many fire extinguishers you need to have and the placement of these necessities, the NFPA organizes the information into a chart based on fire risk. Within this information is the maximum travel distance between a fire extinguisher and your location within the building. With this in mind, you should not have to walk a distance greater than the maximum distance to get to a fire extinguisher in the building.
Here are the distance requirements based on NFPA guidelines:
- Class A – Ordinary Combustibles: Maximum travel distance – 75 feet
- Class B – Flammable Liquids: Maximum travel distance – 30 feet or 50 feet
- Class C – Electrical Equipment: Maximum travel distance – Follow Class A or Class B requirements based on the type
- Class D – Combustible Metals: Maximum travel distance – 75 feet
- Class K – Cooking Media: Maximum travel distance – 30 feet
For Class A and Class B, the travel distance may be altered due to the type of hazard that’s anticipated as well as the numerical rating of the extinguisher.
Different Types of Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are required to be placed in normal travel paths. These fire safety products must also be located where they’re visible at a glance. When installing fire extinguishers in your building, they must be more than four inches off the ground and no higher than 5 feet. However, if the extinguishers weigh more than 40 pounds, they can be no more than 3 feet, 6 inches off the ground.
Some types of portable fire extinguishers ideal for commercial use include an air-pressurized water fire extinguisher (Class A fires), carbon dioxide fire extinguisher (Class B and C fires), dry chemical fire extinguisher (Class A, B, and C fires), and a foam fire extinguisher (Class B fires plus paper and wood).
Ensure your business has the right fire extinguishers in place and installed in the proper locations. Total Fire Protection can help!