Providing Fire Extinguisher Training for Your Employees

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As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide fire extinguisher training for all of your employees.
 

Type of Fire Extinguisher Training to Provide

 
Employers in Canada are obligated to provide instruction and training for employees on the location, use and operation of fire extinguishers and other fire-fighting equipment on the premises. The government includes brochures, pamphlets, educational films, lectures, and hands-on training on the list of acceptable instructional methods.
 
The method you choose will depend on the size and type of business that you have. You may find it easier to find a fire extinguisher company or expert to instruct your employees.
 
If you run a small office, you may find simply explaining how to use a portable fire extinguisher is enough. Every employee should know where the fire extinguishers are located in the building. Even if you believe a front office employee won’t be near a fire in the warehouse, it can save money and lives to ensure that everyone can use the available fire-fighting equipment.
 
For labs, repair garages, printers, warehouses and other higher hazard businesses, it’s important to provide hands-on training. More remote worksites should include training on where fire extinguishers are, along with a standpipe and hose system if needed.
 

Where to Start

 
It’s important that your employees know that different types of fires need to be fought with different types of extinguishers.
 
For many businesses, a multi-purpose fire extinguisher filled with compressed dry powder is enough to put out common fires. This type of fire extinguisher works on fires containing ordinary combustible materials, live electrical equipment, and flammable liquids, such as grease or cooking oils.
 
An important part of fire extinguisher training is to impress upon your employees how important it is to use the right fire extinguisher. Using the wrong fire extinguisher may result in personal injury or even death. It can also cause the fire to spread faster.
 
Part of the responsibility lies with you. The right fire extinguisher needs to be in an easy-to-reach place for your employees. For example, you can’t use a fire extinguisher that contains pressurized water on a fire containing live electrical equipment. This can cause an electric shock for the person using the fire extinguisher. During an emergency, being knocked unconscious by such a shock could result in serious injury or even death.
 
It’s important that you let your employees take the fire extinguisher down from the wall or remove it from where it’s stored. The stronger the fire extinguisher, the heavier it often is. You need to know if everyone can wield the fire extinguisher in an emergency situation. The most powerful fire extinguisher available won’t slow down or stop a single fire if it is too heavy for your workers to use. Every employee should know how to remove the safety pin. It’s helpful to affix instructions to the storage case or the fire extinguisher itself.
 
Good fire extinguisher training should be an essential part of your workplace’s fire prevention strategy. 

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