How to Determine the Number of Fire Extinguishers You Need

Among the many considerations owners and managers of commercial buildings must take into account is the number and placement of fire extinguishers around their facility.

There are two main factors to consider when determining how many fire extinguishers you will need: the square footage of the building and the building’s hazard level. OSHA regulations and local building codes are primarily based on those two factors when determining the fire protection requirements for any given structure.

Here’s an overview of what you should know when working with a fire extinguisher supplier in Lawrenceville, GA to outfit your facility.

Getting the right number of extinguishers

The square footage of your building will play a role in determining the number of extinguishers you need, but perhaps more important is your building’s hazard level. Here’s a look at the different hazard level classifications that are in place for commercial buildings, and the requirements that exist for fire protection at each level:

  • Light Fire Hazard: If the majority of the materials in rooms throughout the building are not combustible and they are arranged in a way that would prevent fire from spreading rapidly, this type of building would have a lower fire risk. In such a classification, there should be a fire extinguisher within 75 feet of any given point in the building.
  • Ordinary Fire Hazard I: Buildings have an “ordinary” hazard level if there is a slight (not negligible) risk of fire. There will be a small amount of flammable liquids in such buildings. Fire extinguishers should be placed every 75 feet.
  • Ordinary Fire Hazard II: These buildings commonly include hardware stores and parking garages, as there will be more flammable materials in close proximity, but not enough to be considered an extra hazard. Fire extinguishers should be placed every 30 to 50 feet from each other.
  • Extra Fire Hazard: An extra hazard building has a greater-than-ordinary level of fire hazard and requires larger extinguishers to be placed every 30 to 50 feet from each other, depending on location.
  • Commercial Kitchen: Commercial kitchens make frequent use of combustible cooking liquids like oils and fats, and have a large amount of heat because of the operation of cooking equipment and the open flames around the area. There should be fire extinguishers accessible at least every 30 feet in these facilities.

Of course, your consideration as a building manager should not only be the number of fire extinguishers you have in a building and where you place them, but also the type of fire extinguishers you have. Keep in mind that different types of fire extinguishers are used for different types of fires, depending on the cause of the fire. It is important that you outfit your building with the proper types of extinguishers depending on the kind of fire risk you face.

For more information, contact a fire extinguisher supplier in Lawrenceville, GA. The team at AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc. would be happy to work with you to get you the fire extinguishers you need, both in number and type.

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