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1 for Fairfax County DPWES
An Introduction to “Fire Extinguishers”

2 Legal Basis for this Training Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Occupational Safety and Health Standards 29 CFR Part Subpart “L” - Fire Protection Standard “Portable fire extinguishers”

3 (b)(1) Where the employer has implemented a written fire safety policy which requires the immediate and total evacuation of employees from the workplace …and which includes an emergency action plan and fire prevention plan…and when extinguishers are not available in the workplace, the employer is exempt from all requirements of this section unless a specific standard in Part 1910 requires that a portable fire extinguisher be provided.

4 (g)(1) Where the employer has provided portable fire extinguishers… the employer shall provide an educational program to familiarize employees with general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage fire fighting.

5 OBJECTIVES: After this training you should be able to:
IDENTIFY 3 common classes of fires SELECT the proper type of extinguisher EVALUATE when it is safe to fight an “early-stage” fire, and; APPLY the “P.A.S.S. method to operate a portable extinguisher.

6 UNABLE to evaluate a fire UNAWARE of DANGER due to...
UNTRAINED PEOPLE Cannot use a fire extinguisher safely because they are: UNABLE to evaluate a fire UNAWARE of DANGER due to... LACKING JUDGEMENT regarding: Safe and correct use of, and Limitations of portable extinguishers

7 WHY UNTRAINED PEOPLE Can’t use a fire extinguisher safely (continued):
INEXPERIENCED Don’t know about the proper type of extinguisher Don’t know how to make a “Fight or Flight” analysis Unfamiliar with the “P.A.S.S. method”

“Ordinary” combustibles Paper, wood, rubber, plastics and textiles. “Flammable liquids” Oil, gasoline, solvents “Energized circuits” Electrical equipment and computers

9 HOW THEY WORK: Works by cooling.
Numerical rating indicates amount of agent, duration, and range of discharge on test fires. Area of Class A fire which a “non-expert” can extinguish, with proper training 1-A is equivalent on Class-A fire to five liters of water. 2-A contains has twice as much extinguishing agent.

10 HOW THEY WORK: Works by blanketing the fuel.
Interrupts chemical reaction at fuel surface. Class B ratings signify the area in square feet of flammable liquid fire a unit will extinguish when used, by a trained, “non-expert.”

11 HOW THEY WORK: Class “C” units have no numerical rating.
A Class “C” rating doesn’t imply any capacity. Only indicates that the extinguishing agent is non-conductive, safe on energized equipment. Works by displacing oxygen, smothering fire.

12 Portable Fire Extinguishers
Can be CARRIED to a fire Weigh from 5 to 30 pounds NFPA Class and Rating Arabic numerals according to efficiency - 4A extinguishes twice as much Class A fire as 2A

13 Portable Fire Extinguishers
LIMITED IN: Capacity to 25 lbs. of extinguishing agent Range - Typically 3 to 15 feet Duration - Discharge their contents in only 5 to 30 seconds!

14 Extinguisher Common features
Locking pin Carrying handle / operating lever Pressure gauge Label : Type (Water, C02, Dry Chemical) Classification (A, B, C) NFPA capacity Rating Instructions Discharge nozzle or horn


16 WATER Water + CO2 propellant ONLY for Class fires wood / paper, etc.
Spreads burning liquids! DANGER of electric shock if used on on live circuits!

Either Or Best for general use: Reduced risk of re-ignition A 10 lb. unit empties in 8-10 secs. Effective range of 6 ft. to 15 ft.

18 C02 - Rated DISPERSES QUICKLY! Best on burning liquids / electrical
SHORT range - 3 to 8 ft. 10- pound unit empties in 5 to 10 seconds! Use short spurts! DISPERSES QUICKLY! Continue applying after the fire is out! Unit gets VERY cold - hold properly

19 Halon Best for computers / electronics
Weight-for-weight TWICE as effective as C02 No residue, easy clean-up VERY SHORT range, 3 to 6 ft. Like C02, Discharges QUICKLY! Like C02, Disperses QUICKLY! Continue after flames are extinguished

20 In case of burning odor or smoke:
Call 911 First! Notify Security - X 43434 Disconnect Equipment Remove combustibles, if you can do so without danger to yourself Notify Floor Monitors and Emergency Safety Coordinator

21 REACT upon discovery of fire or smoke
Remove persons in immediate danger! Ensure doors are closed! (confine fire/smoke) Activate the building alarm ! Call the Fire Department ! Treat ALL fires as DANGEROUS! Continue a complete building evacuation Do not attempt to fight a fire UNLESS you are OSHA certified in use of a fire extinguisher !

22 Use a portable extinguisher ONLY if the:
Building is being evacuated (Fire alarm has been pulled) Fire Department has been called (Dial 911!) Fire is NOT spreading (small and contained) EXIT IS CLEAR (fight fire with your back to an exit ) Proper extinguisher is at hand, and... You have been trained and know how to use it! You use “Buddy System” - have someone back you up! Get assistance BEFORE trying to fight a fire!

Remember the PASS word: 1) Keep your back to a clear escape route, 2) Stand back 6 to 8 feet from the fire, 3) Then >>:

24 PULL the pin

25 LOW at the base of the fire
AIM LOW at the base of the fire

26 SQUEEZE the lever

27 SWEEP from side to side

28 OK, It’s out… Now What? WATCH the fire area
If the fire flares up again repeat! If you can’t control the fire, LEAVE immediately! Call the fire department to inspect the scene! Recharge or replace any used fire extinguisher!

29 Sources for further information:
OR . . .Contact Fire PIO-LSE at

30 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This safety training module was developed in cooperation with: the National Fire Protection Association and the Public Information and Life Safety Education Section of the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department 4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22020 (703) or ( TTY Portions © by Dr. Robert Toreki, used by permission

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