If you own a small business where your employees often have to deal with sources of heat (like a restaurant), you most likely have a fire extinguisher on site. Fire extinguishers are always good to have at any business, even if you don't commonly deal with potential fire hazards. But there's no point to having a fire extinguisher on site if your employees do not know how to properly use. There is little to no time to provide training in the case of an actual emergency. Here are 3 things that you should make sure every employee knows about your company's fire extinguishers.
Which Types of Fires Does the Extinguisher Work On?
Most fires can be classified as one of three types. Class A fires are ordinary combustibles like cloth, paper, wood and so on. Class B fires are flammable liquids like gasoline or grease. Class C fires are those that start in your electrical equipment including your wiring or fuse box. Many fire extinguishers today are designed to handle all 3 types. But if yours are not, make sure that every employee understands the difference. In fact, if your fire extinguisher does not handle all 3 major classes of fires, it might be time to go shopping for a new one.
Give Every Employee Basic Training
Using a standard fire extinguisher is easy enough once you know the basic steps you should take. In case of emergency, you should pull the pin out and then aim the nozzle low at the base of the fire. Squeeze the lever below the handle to discharge.Then sweep the extinguisher from side to side as you slowly walk towards it. Just don't get too close if it is a bad fire. Every employee in your business should be aware of this basic process. Consider calling a staff meeting in which you give a visual demonstration without actually discharging it.
Your Employees Are Not Firefighters
While it's important that every employee be trained on how to use the extinguisher, you should also make clear that their overall health is more important than putting out the fire. In the case of any fire, it's always a good idea to call for help. Make sure all employees are trained on fire escape routes so they can help your customers get out of the building. Don't ever get so caught up in trying to extinguish a fire that you lose your ability to get out of the room. If the fire does not subside after using the extinguisher, don't keep fighting it, get yourself to safety.
Every small business should own a fire extinguisher. But these devices are only effective if your employees are trained on how to use them properly. Make sure every employee understands the different classes of fires and knows the basic steps of operating the extinguisher. Make your extinguisher training part of a larger fire safety plan, including escape routes.
For more helpful suggestions on ways to prevent and fight fires, contact a specialist like Fire Extinguisher Service Center.