What Type of Fire Extinguisher Coverage Do You Need for Your Business?

The risk of fire in an enclosed space is one of the biggest challenges facing a home or business owner today. The good news is that you can surround yourself with adequate protection, based on specific products available for individual circumstances. What do you need to consider?

Getting an Assessment

Most jurisdictions require business owners to carry out a fire risk assessment in order to legally determine how they should approach the protection of their premises, personnel and visitors. As a general rule of thumb though, you need to kit out the property based on both the floor space covered and the nature of your business.

Specific Considerations

Rules vary, but you will need a water-based extinguisher of a certain size according to the maximum floor area to be "covered" and within a specific distance from any potential hazard. The water-based extinguisher can contain simply water, foam or a special solution that includes a suppressant. Most businesses today, however, have a considerable number of electrical risks and of course water is not the ideal choice here. In this case, you will also need a CO2 extinguisher. These should be placed side-by-side at your access points and the individual canister chosen according to the nature of the fire. The greater the risk posed by larger items of equipment, the higher the capacity of extinguisher product needed.

More Complex Situations

In most office or retail locations water and CO2 extinguishers are all that you need. However, in an industrial setting there may be multiple risks. You may need to introduce powder extinguishers into a workshop if you have to deal with fuel, paint, wood or paper risks. This is where it starts to get more complex. For example, a car dealer may have a workshop, showroom and an office complex and each may require its own extinguisher plan. Always remember, however, that it's best not to have a confusing array of extinguishers as this can lead to a lot of confusion in the event of a break out.

Sometimes you can't avoid having a selection. In a restaurant kitchen, for example, you might need chemical extinguishers for fires involving deepfat fryers, CO2 for electrical issues, fire blankets for an eruption around stoves or grills and water-based for other situations. In this case, it's very important to conduct regular training sessions with the staff involved, so that they know intuitively what to do in the event of a problem.

Getting Advice

If you're not sure of your level of risk, have a word with your fire extinguisher supplier to get you on the right track.