Fire damage in your commercial building can be a big deal. A large fire can cause a lot of damage, requiring you to close down your business until full repairs are made. By having fire extinguishers present in your business, you provide a relatively inexpensive way to put a fire out before it does too much damage, saving your store and keeping your employees and customers safe.

What Kind of Fire Extinguisher to Buy For Business?

Choosing the right kind of fire extinguisher can be overwhelming, but the good news is that there is no right or wrong answers here; only that you should buy at least one and have them present in well-marked areas throughout your commercial building. Compare the below criteria to decide what kind of fire extinguisher is best for you.

Fire Extinguisher Types 

This is probably the most important category to know before picking out a fire extinguisher. There are five types of fire extinguishers: A, B, C, D, and K. Each type works against different types of materials. Depending on what kind of business you run will influence what kind of fire extinguisher is right for you. Also depending on your business (for instance, if you run a hotel), you may need different extinguisher types for different areas.

Type A Fire Extinguisher

Works against ordinary combustibles like paper, wood, fabric and trash. Would be suitable for a bookstore, furniture store, or office space.

Type B Fire Extinguisher

Works on flammable liquids like gasoline, paint, and grease. Would be suitable for a gas station, home improvement store, or mechanic.

Type C Fire Extinguisher

Works on fires in “live” electrical equipment. Would be suitable for an electronics store, radio station, or salon.

Type D Fire Extinguisher

Works on flammable metals. Would be suitable for laboratory environments.

Type K Fire Extinguisher

Works on kitchen combustibles, like fats, grease, and oils. Would be suitable for kitchen and restaurant environments.

Fire Extinguisher Sizes

There is no evidence that says the effectiveness of your fire extinguisher depends on its size. You do, however, want to consider the size of the area you are protecting and what kind of materials you are working with when choosing an extinguisher size. Smaller fire extinguishers, like the stove-top, two pound, and five pound can be stored in tighter spaces, like under a kitchen sink or in your car, and come in handy to put out a small fire. However, if you are in a commercial building with a lot of chemicals or flammable materials, you would want to consider a larger 10-pound fire extinguisher. They are heavier, but won’t need to be carried very far, and can be the difference between a small nuisance or a full-on factory fire.

What Kind of Fire Extinguisher is Best: Refillable or Disposable?  

There are two kinds of fire extinguishers, refillable and disposable. Both are good, and the kind you choose will depend entirely on how much you expect to use it, if you want to invest in a reusable extinguisher versus disposable, and what your overall personal preferences are. As mentioned above, this is a subjective choice; one isn’t better than the other.

Refillable 

After your repellent empties, this type of extinguisher allows you to refill the level of repellent and set it back upright. This type of extinguisher can be a bit more expensive than the disposable kind, so you might want to run some calculations to see if it would be a sound investment for your business.

Disposable

Just as the name suggests, this type of extinguisher requires that you discard the extinguisher after the repellent is empty and replace it with a new one. This extinguisher will save you money compared to the rechargeable kind, so this type may be the right one for you.

Fire Extinguisher Placement 

According to OSHA fire extinguisher placement requirements, all fire extinguishers need to be mounted to brackets on the wall or placed in wall cabinets with the handle three and a half to five feet above the ground. If you have a larger fire extinguisher, it should be hung lower, with the handle three feet above the floor. Fire extinguishers should also be no more than 75 feet apart.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher: PASS Method 

Educate yourself, your staff, and anyone else who will be working in your commercial building. Simply having the fire extinguisher there is not enough if people don’t know how to use it. When teaching people, use the acronym PASS to remember the steps:

Pull the safety pin

Aim the extinguisher at the source of the flame

Squeeze the handle or the trigger

Sweep the extinguisher until the fire goes out

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Alpha Omega the leading disaster restoration company serving commercial and residential properties in Billings, MT and surrounding areas.