Newsletter of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries
Volume 6, No. 7, July 2014
Owning and maintaining proper fire safety equipment is an essential part of your business’s fire preparation plan. All facilities should have firefighting equipment, such as portable extinguishers that—when used correctly—can help extinguish or control small fires.
Since portable fire extinguishers are classified according to their intended use, selecting the proper type of extinguisher requires knowing the potential types of fire that a hazard constitutes. Choosing the correct extinguishing agent is extremely important. Using the wrong class of extinguisher could cause a violent reaction.
Class A Fires: Ordinary or combustible materials (e.g., wood, paper, cloth)
Extinguishers are identified by a large “A” in a green triangle and are rated 1-A to 40-A. Extinguishing agents can be water, foam aqueous film forming (AFFF), wetting agent, or dry chemical.
Class B Fires: Flammable or combustible liquids (e.g., gasoline, oils, paints)
Extinguishers are identified by a large “B” within a red square and are rated 1-B to 640-B. Selected extinguishing agents include AFFF, carbon dioxide, dry chemicals, and foam.
Class C Fires: Energized electrical equipment (e.g., motors, switches)
Extinguishers are identified by a large “C” in a blue circle. They have no numerical ratings and are tested only for electrical non-conductivity. Select from carbon dioxide and dry chemical type.
Class D Fires: Combustible metals (e.g., magnesium, aluminum, potassium)
Extinguishers are identified by a large “D” in a yellow star. They have no numerical ratings, and extinguishing agents vary depending upon the type of metal.
Ensure your extinguishers are visible, easily accessible, and placed evenly throughout your facility. They should be protected from corrosive agents and damage, and never blocked by equipment. Inspect extinguishers visually once a month, checking the condition of the hose and coupling, whether the device is charged, and for signs of corrosion. Test and maintain extinguishers annually and provide replacements while extinguishers are being tested or recharged. Dry chemical extinguishers require hydrostatic testing every 12 years (this procedure is not required for non-refillable, disposable, dry chemical units).
Lastly, be sure employees are trained in the location and handling of fire extinguishers as part of your fire preparation plan