Top 3 Benefits of Fire Extinguisher Training for Employees

May 23 2023

Top 3 Benefits of Fire Extinguisher Training for Employees

Fire extinguisher safety is a critical aspect of any workplace and one of the most essential training responsibilities employers must undertake.

When portable fire extinguishers are provided in a workplace, employers must offer an educational program to their employees upon initial employment and annually after that, according to OSHA guidelines.  

Fire extinguisher training is more than simply fulfilling OSHA mandates — it can help save lives and minimize property damage in the event of a workplace fire. It can make all the difference between a minor inconvenience and an absolute disaster.

Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of providing fire extinguisher training to your employees.

3 Reasons to Invest in Fire Extinguisher Training

Fire extinguisher training provides employees with the skills to assess a fire, select the appropriate type for the situation, and safely operate it. They teach employees to recognize potential fire hazards and decide whether to fight the fire or evacuate the premises.

Here's a closer look at the benefits of implementing a fire extinguisher training program for your organization.

1. Ensures Proper Use of Equipment

Operating a portable fire extinguisher requires skill and knowledge. While most people know their importance, only some understand how to use a fire extinguisher properly. Employees need to know how to hold it correctly, where to aim it, and how far away from the blaze they should stand when discharging it.

A comprehensive training program will give your employees hands-on experience using best practices such as the PASS method. The PASS acronym stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep, which are the steps to remember when using a fire extinguisher.

Graphic showing how to use a fire extinguisher.

You don’t want an employee to use a fire extinguisher for the first time in a high-risk, high-stress situation. Providing employees a controlled environment to practice allows them to become comfortable with the equipment and will increase their confidence and ability to respond quickly in an emergency. 

2. Educates Employees on Which Fire Extinguisher to Use

A fire is a fire to the untrained eye. Most employees don’t realize that there are different classes of fire, let alone which type of extinguisher to use in a given situation. The five classes of fire include: 

  • Class A - Combustible materials (paper, wood, cloth)
  • Class B - Flammable liquid or gas (grease, gasoline, oil)
  • Class C - Electrical equipment (appliances, wiring, power tools)
  • Class D - Combustible metals (titanium, zirconium, magnesium)
  • Class K - Cooking oils and grease (vegetable oil, animal fat)

A fire extinguisher training program will teach employees which type of fire extinguisher to use based on the source and type of fire. For instance, water mist extinguishers are primarily used for Class A fires, Carbon Dioxide models are most suited for Class C fires, and wet chemical fire extinguishers are used in commercial kitchens to suppress Class K fires.

Without proper fire extinguisher training, employees may unintentionally use an unsuitable extinguisher, which may exacerbate the flames and render the fire uncontrollable.

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3. Protects Personnel and Minimizes Property Damage

Fire extinguisher classes teach employees how to decide whether to fight or evacuate the premises. With proper training, staff members can react promptly and mitigate the risk of injury including burns and smoke inhalation.

A knowledgeable workforce will also be able to quickly locate and use proper equipment to put out small fires before they become too large, minimizing property damage and business disruption. With competent staff at the helm during an emergency, businesses can rest assured that their assets are well protected.

Looking for a Comprehensive Fire Extinguisher Training Program?

Investing in fire extinguisher education today could well save lives tomorrow. Remember that a robust training program should offer classroom and hands-on training to ensure employees can react appropriately in an emergency. Live fire training will familiarize employees with the risks and responsibilities associated with incipient-stage fire-fighting and allow them to discharge a fire extinguisher in a controlled environment.

Organizations should partner with a qualified fire protection company for fire extinguisher training. Certified instructors will provide in-depth classroom education and hands-on training that meets OSHA requirements.

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