Safety Tip of the Week

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares tips about fire extinguisher safety in the workplace.

Fire Extinguisher Safety

When used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or controlling it until the fire department arrives.

Classes of fires: 

There are three basic classes of fires. All fire extinguishers are labeled with standard symbols for the classes of fires they can put out.

Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper and many plastics.

Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil and grease.

Class C: Energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery and appliances.

Many fire extinguishers are “multipurpose” A-B-C models, labeled for use on all three classes of fire. Fire extinguishers in the Olympia School District schools and most support buildings are multipurpose (A-B-C models). There are a few Class-specific fire extinguishers in the Transportation maintenance area, as well as in the Technology server room. 

Warning: It is dangerous to use water or an extinguisher labeled only for Class A fires on a grease or electrical fire.

Remember the “Pass” word

Stand 6 to 8 feet away from the fire and follow the four-step “PASS” procedure. If the fire does not begin to go out immediately, leave the area at once. Always be sure the fire department inspects the fire site.

PULL the pin out: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher.

AIM low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire.

SQUEEZE the lever below the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.

SWEEP from side to side:  Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the process.