Why Can’t You Put a Fire Extinguisher on the Floor?

Industrial Fire
Feb 14,2023
Why Can't You Put a Fire Extinguisher on the Floor

Fire extinguishers are never on the floor and must be mounted to the wall. But why can’t you put a fire extinguisher on the floor? NFPA 10 says no. Here are a few things to remember when storing fire extinguishers and why you should never put them on the ground.

What Are the Rules on Storing Fire Extinguishers? 

As per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines, the guidelines for storing fire extinguishers are the following: 

  • They must be mounted to the wall. They should be at least 4 inches from the floor but no more than 5 feet. In Texas, we refer to NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers.
  • One extinguisher must be available per the 50 foot rule or the 75 foot rule, depending on the material being protected. This means that a person must be within either 50 feet or 75 feet of an extinguisher that is clearly marked by signage from any point in the building by line of sight.
  • They must be near fire hazards, for example, kitchens. 
  • They must be visible and accessible. 
  • They must be located along the normal paths of travel. 
  • They should be installed in places where they are visible. Still, if an obstruction is unavoidable, a sign should indicate the location.

Reasons Why Fire Extinguishers Shouldn’t Be on the Floor

Per NFPA 10 guidelines on extinguisher placement, it is very clear that portable fire extinguishers should be within reach of an individual. In addition, the guidelines address the term “maximum travel distance to the extinguisher,” which refers to never having to travel more than the maximum distance to a fire extinguisher. 

When it comes to storage, it may seem straightforward to make sure they are easy to access, for example, by a doorway. However, the rules are explicit: they should not be on the floor and must be easily accessible. For example, what would happen if a fire extinguisher was left on the floor? 

It becomes a Trip Hazard. 

In terms of health and safety in a business or building, a misplaced fire extinguisher poses a significant trip hazard. The height of an average fire extinguisher is enough for anyone to trip over and hurt themselves if it is misplaced. Still, there is also the likelihood of damaging the fire extinguisher by releasing the contents onto the floor. 

They Keep Fire Doors Open 

Fire extinguishers are sometimes used to keep fire doors open. However, fire doors must be closed at all times and could pose a major health and safety emergency if left open. Fire doors are there to protect lives and offer protection to the occupants of a building. 

Can Cause Obstructions in an Emergency Setting

If a fire extinguisher is left on the floor and there is a fire outbreak, not complying with extinguisher regulations by putting it on the floor will potentially cause problems in a life-threatening emergency. Buildings must have clear walkways to ensure a swift evacuation in an emergency. Additionally, suppose a fire extinguisher is on the floor. In that case, it is not easy to access in this situation, wasting valuable seconds in getting the fire extinguisher ready, especially in commercial environments like kitchens with more open flames. 

Fire extinguishers should never be on the floor, not just because it contravenes the rules and regulations of the NFPA. Still, an extinguisher on the floor could worsen a problem, so it must be installed and placed on a stand or fixed to a wall.

For more information about fire extinguishers, check out Industrial Fire Protection Services in Houston.

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.