Preventing Fires & Proper Extinguisher Use

Fires can start in a variety of ways while on the job, so it’s important to know what risks are present and how to use a fire extinguisher if the need arises. The consequences of a fire on the job include injury, brush fires and more.

How to Prevent Fires

When on the job, all smoking is prohibited when handling or working around flammable liquids. All flammable liquids should be stored, handled and dispensed only using approved containers to avoid leaks and spills. Whenever possible, avoid open flames and other sources of ignition as well.

Avoiding Fires When Using Power Tools

When fueling power tools like chain saws, it is important to keep gasoline away from brush or flammable substances. That’s why it’s recommended that you refuel on a paved or dirt surface, or even a tarpaulin if necessary. Gasoline kills grass and can cause permanent damage to asphalt as well. Be sure to keep hot surfaces like exhaust ports and exhaust covers maintained on chain saws and other power tools.

Fire Extinguisher Types

Every truck needs to be equipped with a properly classified fire extinguisher that is kept charged at all times. If you do need to use it on the job, it should be turned in for recharging and service so that is ready for use again.

There are three general types of extinguishers, each containing unique extinguishants that are best for different types of fires:

Class A – Used for burning paper, trash, wood. These require an extinguisher filler with water.

Class B – Used for burning flammable liquid (gasoline), oils, and grease. Class B fires require the oxygen in the air to be removed for complete extinguishing.

Class C – Used for electrical equipment fires. These contain non-conductive agents like carbon dioxide or dry chemicals. Remember, you should never apply water to an electrical fire.

Class ABC Extinguishers – also known as combination extinguishers, are good for putting out all classes of fire.

Following Proper Procedure

Fire extinguishers carriers located inside of your work trucks should be properly filled, checked monthly to ensure they are working properly, inspected and re-tagged annually. Their placement should be readily accessible, securely mounted on the vehicle, located for easy visual inspection, mounted in a location where they will not freeze, in addition to being of a type that does not use a vaporizing liquid that gives off toxic vapors. Work with your General Forman to ensure proper placement.

Extinguishing a Fire

Before using a fire extinguisher, ask your crew leader for training on how to properly use the cannister. Remember these rules during use:

1. Know how the extinguisher works before you need it in an emergency situation.
2. Study any instructions printed on the container well before a fire breaks out.
3. Stay as far away from the fire as possible.
4. Aim at the source or base of the fire, not up in the flames.
5. Position yourself upwind, allowing the wind to carry the extinguisher to the fire rather than carrying the flames to you.
6. Continue until whatever was burning has been cooled. Remember, an absence of smoke or flame doesn’t mean the fire is all the way out or can’t restart.

Next time you’re on the job, be sure to remember these tips to avoid the hazards of a fire. Always take the proper precautions to avoid ignition and have your fire hydrant in an easily accessible spot. This can help ensure you get home safe, every day.

Posted: 8/22/2019 1:55:41 PM by Global Administrator