Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers

Every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 65 seconds. While these numbers have trended down since 1980, fire safety and prevention are still major concerns to businessowners whose livelihoods could be destroyed in a matter of minutes.

While major fires that result in substantial damage are not as common, it is still important IMT policyholders to have an effective fire safety and prevention plan. This can include installing enough fire extinguishers in a building, identifying emergency exits with lighted signs, reviewing and updating evacuation plans and ensuring that fire suppressions systems are inspected on a regular basis.

The NFPA is an excellent resource for identifying standards for fire safety and prevention measures. In most cases, compliance with NFPA standards is voluntary, however, in some cases, federal or state Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) agencies have incorporated wording from NFPA standards into regulations. In these cases, complying with the standards is mandatory.

Portable fire extinguishers are effective in fire prevention and are required in the following occupancy types:

  • Ambulatory Health Care
  • Apartments
  • Assemblies
  • Businesses
  • Daycare
  • Hotel & Dormitory
  • Industrial
  • Lodging & Rooming
  • Mercantile
  • Health Care
  • Educational
  • Storage
  • Detention & Corrections
  • Residential Boarding

Portable fire extinguishers should be accessible and visible. Travel distance to a fire extinguisher cannot be more than 75 feet for ordinary combustibles, 30 to 50 feet for flammable liquids, and 30 feet for cooking oils used in commercial cooking equipment. Fire extinguishers should also be inspected annually by a qualified person. A tag indicating the month and year of inspection should be affixed to the fire extinguisher.

Remember, fire extinguishers are not intended to be a substitute for evacuating the building safely and quickly.

If you or any of your policyholders have any questions regarding fire prevention or would like to request a visit from an IMT Loss Control Representative, please feel free to contact the Loss Control Department.

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