A lot of people know that they can use a fire extinguisher in their building and truth be told – if you and your employees have had the proper training – most of you will know HOW to use them as well.
But WHEN do you use them? When is it worthwhile to grab one and try to put the fire out on the spot and when is it time to simply evacuate the building as soon as possible?
Today, we’re going to bring that into a little bit clearer focus, but mind you – you are never required to use an extinguisher, you should not be expected to use one in the event something happens and there’s nothing that says you should stay in the building any longer than you feel you have to. Attempting to stay inside and fight a fire may put you in extreme danger.
In fact to answer your question – when should you use it? Well, let’s put it this way – evacuation should be the only thing on your mind. Even if you can get to an extinguisher, it’s probably best if left to the pros. So why is that?
Well, according to Underwriters’ Laboratories – an organization that specialized in global safety testing and certifications – they suggest you get out because you can only really use extinguishers in a few, select situations.
• When the fire is very small and not growing
• When you know how to use an extinguisher
• The extinguisher is fully charged
• You have a clear path to safety and exiting the building
• You have already notified the fire department
• The room isn’t full of smoke.
If even one of those boxes isn’t checked – get out!
The unfortunate truth is – that people get hurt trying to put out small fires every single year. Look, we get it – it’s incredibly brave and selfless of you to try and protect your building, your peers and your property. But it’s simply not worth putting yourself in the way of danger. The best thing you can do for everyone – especially the fire department – is get out of the building safely and let the sprinkler system do it’s work.
Even if you’re comfortable using the extinguisher – you need to know that the extinguisher itself is charged because if you find out too late, the worst can happen.
The best thing you can do – specifically if you own a business – is have your employees undergo basic fire safety training, implement and drill an evacuation plan and make sure you get your place of business inspected by local fire authorities to make sure everything is working as it should.
If your business is in the Tampa Bay/St Petersburg/Largo area and you’d like us to come and help you learn how to best prepare you and your staff for a fire emergency, then give us a call today. Good luck!