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Every employer, owner or occupier of a business premises is accountable for fire safety and fire protection. To comply with fire safety legislation, it is a legal requirement to have an ‘appropriate person’ who is trained to carry out fire safety measures. This must be implemented under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, to minimise the risk to life from fire.

The ‘appropriate person’ must have adequate training and experience in the principles of fire safety. This includes understanding relevant fire safety procedures and precautions. An essential part of their role involves the use of fire extinguishing equipment in the event of a fire. fire extinguishers should never be used by someone with no training.

A person must be properly trained to use firefighting equipment. The reason for this is because it is important to know which type to use for the fire. If the wrong type of extinguisher is used, this could lead to life-threatening consequences. For example, using a water extinguisher where electricity located could trigger electrocution. So, it is essential that the person knows where each fire extinguisher can be applied.

Fire extinguisher from aci

The Importance of fire safety training

The ‘appropriate’ person must be given effective training to perform fire safety measures accordingly. Under the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005,  the company or organisation are responsible for ensuring that their employees receive adequate training and development.

An important area of the training involves educating about fire hazards, fire risks and how to carry out fire risk assessments. Appropriate person training is delivered in order to enhance their capability with fire prevention, fire detection and effective use of fire safety equipment.

When would you use a fire extinguisher?

In the event of a fire, there are a number of precautions to consider before you put a fire extinguisher to use. These involve making sure the room has not filled with smoke, making sure the fire is contained and finally ensuring everyone has been evacuated from the building.

For example, if the fire is contained in a rubbish bin, it would be safe to use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Before you operate a fire extinguisher, you need to make sure it is the suitable type for the fire you are dealing with. A fire extinguisher is only designed to handle smaller fires in the workplace or to protect evacuation routes in the event of a bigger one.

When should you not use a fire extinguisher?

  • The fire is too large
  • High levels of smoke in the air
  • The environment is too hot or smoky
  • Evacuation paths are impaired

Who can inspect a fire extinguisher?

Any fire extinguisher required for a business premise must be serviced once a year. In addition, fire extinguishers must have regular monthly checks recorded. As part of the annual service, it must be inspected and certified by a fire protection equipment professional.

A ‘responsible person’ such as an owner or landlord are expected to carry out the visual inspections of fire extinguishers to comply with legislation. This person is someone who is qualified by training and experience to conduct service and maintenance of fire extinguishing equipment.

Are fire extinguishers a legal requirement?

To comply with UK legislation, it is a legal requirement for all workplaces to have fire extinguishers. UK fire extinguisher regulations state that all business environments are required to have a minimum of two ‘Class A’ extinguishers on every storey of the building.

Typically, they are located near exits and fire alarm call-points. They should be fixed to the wall, or attached to a stand. If your business premise is quite small, then you may only need one fire extinguisher so that it prevents hindering escape routes.

Tak kei wong pwov 8crpw unsplash from aci

How to use a fire extinguisher

There are a few different types of fire extinguishers out there to choose from and while most are used in the same way, some might be slightly different. With that in mind make sure that you read the instructions on the extinguisher itself but feel free to look through our guide below.

1. Find your exit

The first thing that you should do is make sure that you have a clear exit. This is going to help you if you can’t put out the fire and have to get out of the building or area before anything else happens. The best option is to have multiple exits to choose from in case one is blocked and you can’t make it to that location.

Consider this when deciding where to place your fire extinguishers too, it’ll make it easier to determine your exit route when tackling a fire.

2. Keep your distance

One of the most common mistakes is getting too close to a fire with an extinguisher in the hopes that it’ll be more effective. Ideally, you should stand in the direction exit(s) that you identified earlier and try to position yourself between 6 and 8 feet from the fire in preparation for tackling the flames.

3. Trigger the extinguisher

During an emergency like a fire, it can be difficult to stay composed and calm to enable you to think clearly. It’s important to do your best to remain calm and remember your training. To help you, fire safety has an easy acronym; PASS.

P: Pull the pin

A: Aim the extinguisher nozzle on the hose low and toward the base of the fire

S: Squeeze the handle of the lever to trigger the extinguisher

S: Sweep the nozzle side to side while aiming at the base of the fire until it’s extinguished

4. Monitor the situation

After you’ve managed to extinguish the fire you need to make sure that you’re monitoring the situation. This means that you ensure any injured people get the help they need, keep everyone away from the source of the fire and watch to see if the fire ignites again. If the flames do start up again. repeat the PASS process above.