How Many Fire Extinguishers Are Required in Business Premises?

Industrial Fire
Apr 4,2024
How Many Fire Extinguishers are Required in a Business Premises

When it comes to safety, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution that works for everybody. Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and so do fire extinguisher requirements. 

Though many business owners want a clear and definite answer to how many fire extinguishers are required on business premises, it isn’t possible. There are way too many variables to include, such as the type of business, the size of the premises, and the materials handled at the location. 

All the mentioned factors determine the number of fire extinguishers needed and the type of fire extinguisher for a specific environment. 

For example, commercial kitchens. These environments are at risk of Class B fires. Therefore, they must follow strict regulations for Class B fires and portable fire extinguishers. This is much unlike, let’s say, offices, which are more prone to Class A fires, and so forth. 

However, despite your environment, this guide will help you get a better understanding of your fire extinguisher requirements. 

Federal and Local Fire Safety Regulations

Before anything, let’s go over some basic federal and local fire safety regulations. Unlike other countries, for instance, the UK, the US doesn’t have standardised fire safety regulations. Instead, it’s governed by various entities. 

The first, and most important, is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Pretty much, they set all the essential fire safety standard for workplaces in the US. This includes such things as fire extinguisher requirements.

On the other hand, you have federal agencies. These come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Each agency has its own fire safety rules based on an organization’s sector. 

Including the above, you have the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Again, another important figure in fire safety regulations. Though it isn’t the “law”, most States and local rules are built around the NFPA 10.

And finally, talking about States, they also have their own rules regarding fire safety. These vary from state to state and industry to industry, so you’ll need to inquire about your local rules. Even sometimes, cities and town will have their own fire codes, depending on where they’re located. 

How Many Fire Extinguishers Are Required in Business Premises?

As you now know, deciding upon an adequate number of fire extinguishers within a business environment involves multiple considerations. Influences on this decision include factors like:

General Fire Extinguisher Requirements

  • Class A Fire Extinguishers: Should be within 75 feet of employees for ordinary fire hazards
  • Class B Fire Extinguishers: Should be no more than 50 feet away in the workplace for flammable liquids
  • Class C Fire Extinguishers: Placement depends on the Class A or B hazards present
  • Class D Fire Extinguishers: Should be within 75 feet of potential metal fires
  • Class K Fire Extinguishers: Should be within 30 feet of cooking areas in commercial kitchens

Specific Requirements Based on Business Type

  • Commercial Kitchens: Often need Fire Suppression Systems and the correct type of fire extinguisher.
  • Specific Hazards: Additional rules for handling flammable substances and combustible dust may apply.

Types and Placement of Fire Extinguishers

  • Water Extinguishers: Class A, found in homes and offices.
  • Foam Extinguishers: Class A and B, located in workshops and garages.
  • CO2 Fire Extinguishers: Class B and C are used near electrical equipment.
  • Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers: Class D, for metal fires and other specialized environments.
  • Wet Chemical Extinguishers: Class K, for places such as commercial kitchens or building considered an extra fire hazard.

Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher

To choose the suitable fire extinguisher, consider these steps:

  1. Assess Fire Risks: Determine possible fire types in your facility.
  2. Choose Types of Extinguishers: Use NFPA 10 to match extinguishers with identified risks.
  3. Determine Needs: Apply OSHA guidelines to decide on extinguisher numbers and sizes.
  4. Maintenance Factors: Ensure extinguishers are accessible and well-maintained.

Maintaining Your Fire Extinguishers

Alongside the above, you must ensure your fire extinguishers are ready when needed. Here’s how:

Regular Inspections

  • Monthly Inspections: Verify extinguisher presence, check for damage, ensure correct pressure gauge, and inspect safety seals. If anything is wrong, contact a professional.
  • Inspection Records: Keep a log as per NFPA 10.
  • Fire Extinguisher Inspection: Conduct a thorough examination to identify any safety risks or malfunctions.

Professional Servicing

  • Annual Maintenance: An essential check-up to comply with NFPA 10 standards.
  • 6-Year Maintenance: In-depth inspection and potential recharging.
  • Hydrostatic Testing: Tests extinguisher cylinders as per NFPA 10 intervals.
  • Fire Extinguisher Service: Ensures your portable extinguishers meet legal requirements and are functioning correctly.

Training Your Staff on Fire Safety

Though not a legal requirement, every employee needs fire safety training to protect your business. This includes:

  • Identifying various fire extinguisher types and their corresponding classes of fire.
  • Mastering the PASS technique for extinguisher use: Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep.
  • Prioritizing evacuation and knowing exit strategies.
  • Familiar with emergency procedures, alarm and fire extinguisher locations, fire alarm systems, fire reporting, and the company’s response plan.

Advanced Training for Fire Marshals

In some businesses, certain employees have more complex fire safety duties, which demand advanced knowledge and skills.

Their training typically covers:

  • Identifying potential fire hazards.
  • Understanding fire extinguisher use and maintenance.
  • Coordinating evacuations during emergencies.
  • Communicating effectively with fire departments.
  • Pursuing fire safety certifications like those from the National Fire Protection Association.

Conclusion

Choosing the appropriate fire extinguishers business needs, ensuring they are checked regularly and serviced by professionals, and educating people on using them correctly is vital to protecting your premises from fire.

Following OSHA and NFPA guidelines when it comes to all fire protection systems not only assists in making knowledgeable choices but also contributes to a safer environment for all. Alongside this, proper preparation can significantly impact the outcome of a commercial fire event.

Fire Safety Log Book

Maintaining an accurate fire safety log book is crucial for recording the upkeep and examining your portable fire extinguishers. These logs, which you can quickly obtain or download from the internet, such as from NIFRS, can help you track fire extinguisher maintenance and ensure compliance with NFPA 10.

Fire Safety Training Courses

Fire safety education is essential, and for those in the Houston, TX area, we offer specialized fire extinguisher training to equip individuals with hands-on experience in using different types of fire extinguishers, including CO2 extinguishers and water extinguishers, essential for electrical fires and Class A fires respectively.

For comprehensive fire safety training courses, resources such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration provide extensive online programs that cover a wide range of topics on fire prevention, fire alarm systems, emergency response, and more.

Fire Risk Assessment Template

Fire risk assessment templates are accessible for download or purchase. Using these templates ensures that your business premises and commercial buildings are thoroughly evaluated for fire risks, including the nature of your business, flammable materials, and the correct type of extinguisher needed for your square footage, travel distance between each extinguisher, and fire hazard level.

Fire Extinguisher Servicing

Industrial Fire TX is a creditable fire protection company, a leader in the sale, setup, and upkeep of fire extinguishers, helping building owners achieve compliance and readiness for commercial fire-related emergencies. For more information about how we can help, contact us.

Fire Safety Training Courses

For those looking to expand their expertise in fire safety, numerous online training courses are offered:

Each resource provides specialized education for maintaining a secure workplace.

Fire Safety Signs

Having the right signs in place is an essential part of fire safety. These signs help people during emergencies and make sure you meet OSHA standards. They are designed to be easy to see and provide information, showing where fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and evacuation paths are located.

About the Author

Industrial Fire

We are a family-owned and operated business. Industrial Fire has proudly served Houston, Texas, for over seven decades. Fire protection technology has changed a lot since we started doing business in 1945. Still, one thing hasn’t changed, our commitment to providing our neighbors in Houston, TX, with the best fire protection services and equipment available.