Fire Extinguishers—Potential Life Savers At The Ready!
You may not know that recent studies show that over 90% of fires in commercial properties are extinguished early on by members of the public using a fire extinguisher.
If you work in property management, you’ve likely gotten used to these bright red canisters strategically positioned in various spots throughout your buildings. And, while it may be true that fire extinguishers tend to become part of the scenery, if a blaze should break out, they’re your first line of defense against a possibly catastrophic fire.
The number of fire extinguishers needed for your property or business depends on the size of your building. For instance, a business located in a smaller space will require fewer extinguishers than that of a larger space. However, it is important to have these potential life and property savers on all corners of the business premises. It’s standard code that they should not be placed more than seventy-five feet apart and hung with brackets mounted three to five feet from the ground level. (Due to their weight, larger units need to be mounted two to three feet from floor level)
The frequency of which fire extinguishers should be checked and serviced is highly important. You, or someone on your staff, must manually and physically check all your fire extinguishers every thirty days. Always check for signs of corrosion, damage, leakage or clogging and make sure they’re still in place with their labels intact.
In addition to the monthly inspections done in-house, you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional for annual inspections. If your property has rechargeable extinguishers, a more in-depth inspection will need to be scheduled to perform required periodic maintenance in addition to the annual inspection. The right contractor for this project is a company that is certified by your state’s fire marshal and your insurance agency to comply with the National Fire Protection Agency’s (NFPA) guidelines. In addition to inspecting your fire extinguishers, these experts can also:
1. Verify that fire extinguishers are placed every seventy-five feet of travel on every floor of the building and within thirty-feet of cooking equipment
2. Train your staff how to use a fire extinguisher
3. Assess the fire hazard level of the building
4. Check your smoke detectors
5. Create or review the evacuation plan for your building
The safety of your business premises is something everyone should be concerned about. Keeping your fire extinguishers in optimum condition will not only add to your peace of mind, it could make the difference in protecting people and property.