AWS Fire Extinguisher Safety

Appia Wind Services Fire Extinguisher Safety Training

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Occupational Safety and Health Standards

29 CFR Part 1910
Subpart “L” - Fire Protection
Standard 1910.157

“Portable Fire Extinguishers”

 

Why do we need training???

Untrained people are unable to evaluate the severity of a fire

Severity of the fire

How many time have you overestimated your abilities when trying to accomplish something only to find out it is more difficult to do then you originally thought?

This is what happens to people who have not been trained to evaluate just how big a fire actually is.  They might say, "It's not that big" or "It's just a small grass fire" but in actuality the fire is much larger then they thought.  

Untrained People are unaware of the dangers associated with fighting fires

What are some dangers associated with fighting a fire?

  1. The size of the fire
  2. Where is the nearest exit?
  3. How long will the fire extinguisher last?
  4. Will this fire extinguisher work for this type of fire?

These are just a few of the danger associated with fighting a fire.


Untrained People tend to lack judgement with regards to:

  • Safe and correct use of and the limitations of different types of fire extinguishers
  • Understanding how to make a “Fight or Flight” analysis
    • Fight or Flight: Ask yourself these question 1st,
      • "Do I take it on or is it too big?
        •  If it's too big then you "FLIGHT" and make your way to the nearest exit and call for help
      • Do I have the correct type of fire extinguisher?
      • Do you know the type of extinguisher you need for the type of fire or are you unsure of what you are dealing with?  
        • If you have any uncertainty about this the "FLIGHT" and make you way to the nearest exit and call for help
  • Unfamiliar with the “P.A.S.S. method” (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep)



What is a fire and how does fire work

All About Fire

What is Fire?

When you gaze at the leaping flames of a campfire, you’re observing not an object, but a process – a chemical reaction. This is the same chemical reaction that occurs when a cut apple left on the counter turns brown, when silver tarnishes or when an iron nail rusts.

That process is oxidation: combining oxygen with another substance. The defining difference between a fire and your half-eaten apple is speed: 

Fire is an oxidation process that happens very fast, so that light, heat and sound are released

The sudden release of energy causes temperatures to rise, sometimes by thousands of degrees. And it also results in smoke, the toxic waste of fire’s leftovers.

The Fire Triangle and the 3 components of a Fire

The fire triangle identifies the three needed components of fire:

  • fuel (something that will burn)
  •  heat (enough to make the fuel burn)
  • and air (oxygen)

All three components must be present to have a fire. 

Fire will burn until one or more of the components are removed. 

Traditional fire extinguishing methods involve removing the fuel, heat, or oxygen.

Stages of Fire

  • Ignition: Fuel, oxygen and heat join together in a sustained chemical reaction. At this stage, a fire extinguisher can control the fire.
  • Growth: With the initial flame as a heat source, additional fuel ignites. Convection and radiation ignite more surfaces. The size of the fire increases and the plume reaches the ceiling. Hot gases collecting at the ceiling transfer heat, allowing all fuels in a room to come closer to their ignition temperature at the same time.
  • Fully developed: Fire has spread over much if not all the available fuel; temperatures reach their peak, resulting in heat damage. Oxygen is consumed rapidly.
  • Decay (Burnout): The fire consumes available fuel, temperatures decrease, fire gets less intense.

How Fire Spreads

Fire spreads by transferring the heat energy from the flames in three different ways.

  1. Convection
  2. Conduction
  3. Radiation

Convection

The flow of fluid or gas from hot areas to cooler areas. The heated air is less dense, and rises, while cooler air descends. 

A large fire in an open area produces plume or column of hot gas and smoke high into the air. But inside a room, those rising gases encounter the ceiling. They travel horizontally along the ceiling forming a thick layer of heated air, which then moves downward.

Conduction

The passage of heat energy through or within a material because of direct contact, such as a burning wastebasket heating a nearby couch, which ignites and heats the drapes hanging behind, until they too burst into flames.

Radiation

Heat traveling via electromagnetic waves, without objects or gases carrying it along. Radiated heat goes out in all directions, unnoticed until it strikes an object. Burning buildings can radiate heat to surrounding structures, sometimes even passing through glass windows and igniting objects inside.

4 Ways to Put a Fire Out

  1. Cool the burning material
  2. Exclude/ remove oxygen
  3. Remove the fuel
  4. Break the chemical reaction

What 3 things are needed to make the fire?

Match the terms with the definations

  • Conduction
    The passage of heat energy through or within a material because of direct contact, such as a burning wastebasket heating a nearby couch, which ignites and heats the drapes hanging behind, until they too burst into flames.
  • Convection
    The flow of fluid or gas from hot areas to cooler areas. The heated air is less dense, and rises, while cooler air descends. A large fire in an open area produces plume or column of hot gas and smoke high into the air.
  • Radiation
    Heat traveling via electromagnetic waves, without objects or gases carrying it along. This heat goes out in all directions, unnoticed until it strikes an object.

At what stage of a fire is a fire extinguisher effective?

  • Growth
  • Fully Developed
  • Ignition
  • Decay (Burn Out)

True or False

  • Fire is considered to be a chemical reaction involving oxidation?
  • We only need fuel and heat to keep a fire going?
  • It is recommended to use a fire extinguisher on a fully developed fire?
  • There are only 4 ways to put out a fire; Cooling, remove oxygen, remove the fuel, break the chemical reaction

Different Fire Classifications

Fire Classifications Based on Fuel Type

Class A: Ordinary Combustible Materials

Ordinary combustible materials, such as:

  • wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics. 

These burn with an ember and leave an ash.

Think "A" for Average, you average everyday items


 

Class B: Flammable Liquids and Combustible Liquids

  • Flammable Liquids (burn at room temperature) and 
  • Combustible liquids (require heat to ignite).

Petroleum greases, tars, oils, oil-based paints, solvents, lacquers, alcohols, and flammable gases. 

These have a high fire hazard; water may not extinguish.

Think "B" for BOOM, "Match in the gas tank goes BOOM"


Class C: Fuels That Would be A or B Except That They Involve Energized Electrical Equipment.

  • Special techniques and agents required to extinguish, 
    • most commonly used are carbon dioxide or dry chemical agents. 
  • Use of water is very dangerous because water conducts electricity.
  • Think "C" for Charged, like a battery

Class D: Combustible Metals

  • Combustible Metals such as:
    • magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, lithium and potassium. 
  • Most cars contain numerous such metals. 
  • Because of extremely high flame temperatures, water can break down into hydrogen and oxygen, enhancing burning or exploding. 
  • Extinguish with special powders based on sodium chloride or other salts; also clean dry sand can be used to extinguish. 

Class K: Fires in Cooking Appliances That Involve Combustible Cooking Media 

  • Vegetable or animal oils and fats
  • Typically kitchen Fires
  • Think "K" for Kitchen

Match the fire classification with the correct description

  • Class A
    Ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and many plastics
  • Class B
    Flammable liquids and combustible liquids
  • Class C
    Energized electrical equipment
  • Class D
    Combustible metals
  • Class K
    Combustible cooking media (vegetable or animal oils and fats)

Types of Fire Extinguishers

The 5 Types of Fire Extinguishers

Class A Fire Extinguishers 

  • Class A fire extinguishers are used for ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, some plastics and textiles. 
  • This fire class requires the heat-absorbing effects of water or the coating effects of certain dry chemicals. 


  • Extinguishers suitable for Class A fires should be identified by a triangle containing the letter “A.” 
  • If in color, the triangle should be green.

Class B Fire Extinguishers 

  • Class B Fire Extinguishers are used for flammable liquid and gas fires such as oil, gasoline, etc. 
  • These fire extinguishers deprive the fire of oxygen and interrupt the fire chain by inhibiting the release of combustible vapors. 


  • Extinguishers suitable for Class B fires should be identified by a square containing the letter “B.” 
  • If in color, the square should be red.

Class C Fire Extinguishers 

  • Class C Fire Extinguishers are used on fires that involve live electrical equipment that require the use of electrically non-conductive extinguishing agents. 
  • Once the electrical equipment is de-energized, extinguishers for Class A or B fires may be used. 


  • Extinguishers suitable for Class C fires should be identified by a circle containing the letter “C.” 
  • If in color, the circle should be blue

Class D Fire Extinguishers 

  • Class D Fire Extinguishers are used on combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, sodium, etc., that require an extinguishing medium that does not react with the burning metal. 
  • Extinguishers suitable for Class D fires should be identified by a five-point painted star containing the letter “D.” 
  • If in color, the star should be yellow.

Class K Fire Extinguishers 

  • Class K Fire Extinguishers are used on fires involving cooking media (fats, grease and oils) in commercial kitchens. 
  • These extinguishers are identified by the letter K.


Fire Extinguishing Agents

Water

Good on all Class A Fires

  • Class A Fires: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, some plastics and textiles.

DRY CHEMICAL

Used for Class A,B and C fires

  • Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, some plastics and textiles.
  • Class B: Flammable liquid and gas fires such as oil, gasoline, etc.
  • Class C: Fires that involve live electrical equipment that require the use of electrically non-conductive extinguishing agents. 

CO2/ HALON

Used for Class B and C fires.

  • Class B: Flammable liquid and gas fires such as oil, gasoline, etc.
  • Class C: Fires that involve live electrical equipment that require the use of electrically non-conductive extinguishing agents. 

Dry Powder

Used for Class D fires

  • Class D: Fires with combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, sodium, etc.

What type of extinguishing agent should be used on an electrical fire?

True or False

  • You can use water on a Class D fire.
  • Water can be used on ALL classes of fires.
  • Dry Chemical can be used on class A,B, and C fires.

Components of a Fire Extinguisher

Main components of a fire extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher Main Components

  • Discharge Lever- Used to release to contents from inside the fire extinguisher
  • Discharge Locking Pin/Seal- Pin must be pulled in order to operate the discharge lever.  There should be an inspection tag/seal in this area as well. 
  • Discharge Hose- Carries the contents of the extinguisher to the discharge nozzle/orifice
  • Discharge Nozzle/Orifice- This is where the contents of the fire extinguisher spray out from, aim this at the base of the fire
  • Body- This is where the contents of the extinguisher are stored and kept under pressure
  • Data Plate- Fire extinguisher information is kept here; what type of fires/extinguisher it is, contents, manufacturer, weight, instructions, NFPA rating, etc. 
  • Carrying Handle - This is the only part that the fire extinguisher should be carried by, do not use the discharge lever. 
  • Pressure Gauge - A vital inspection point when inspecting your extinguisher, gauge must be in the "GREEN" area. If in the "RED" so not use and take out of service. 

Match the words with the correct fire extinguisher component

  • DATA PLATE
  • DISCHARGE NOZZLE
  • DISCHARGE ORIFICE
  • BODY
  • DISCHARGE HOSE
  • CARRYING HANDLE
  • PRESSURE GUAGE
  • DISCHARGE LEVER
  • LOCKING PIN/ SEAL

The "OTHER" Stuff about Fire Extinguishers

Where do I need to place my fire extinguisher?

OSHA requires employers to select and distribute fire extinguishers based on the classes of anticipated workplace fires and also on the size and degree of the hazard, which would affect their use.  The following information is the OSHA-specified maximum travel distances to an extinguisher by fire class.

Class A            75 feet

Class B            50 feet

Class C            Based on appropriate A or B Hazard

Class D            75 feet


It is a BEST PRACTICE to bring your fire extinguisher with you to your work area.  In our line of work, the wind farms do not have the capability of providing fire extinguishers inside of every turbine, this is due to the inspection requirements and the difficulty of having an inspector go up every tower to do an inspection.  

Training

When an employer has provided fire extinguishers for employees use, the employer must provide an educational program to familiarize employees on the principles and use of the extinguishers. This program should be completed during the initial hiring and annually thereafter.


Visual Inspections

Visual Inspection: Portable fire extinguishers must be visually inspected monthly per 29 CFR 1910.157(e)(2). 

The inspection should assure that:

  1. Fire extinguishers are in their assigned place
  2. Fire extinguishers are not blocked or hidden
  3. Fire extinguishers are mounted in accordance with NFPA 10
  4. Pressure gauges show adequate pressure; carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers must be weighed to determine if leakage has occurred
  5. Pin and seals are in place
  6. Fire extinguishers show no visual sign of damage or abuse
  7. Nozzles are free of blockage

These inspections can be done before every shift.  The work and the locations we work in, subject us to carry our extinguishers with us.  We do not have the luxury of having one mounted in a shop or stationary in a work vehicle.  When we carry the extinguishers around they can become more easily damaged.  A quick once over before your shift can make a world of difference when seconds count. 

How to use a Fire Extinguisher

1) Keep your back to a clear escape route, 

2) Stand back 6 to 8 feet from the fire, 

3) Then .......P.A.S.S.

  • Pull the pin
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
  • Squeeze the discharge lever to release the contents of the extinguisher
  • Sweep, in a left to right motion, at the base of the fire.

How often do we need fire extinguisher training?

  • Annually
  • When hired
  • When hired and annually therafter

Where should I point the fire extinguisher when trying to extinguish a fire?

  • At the top of the fire
  • At the surrounding area
  • At the base of the fire

True or False

  • It's best practice to leave your fire extinguisher in your work truck.
  • Every wind farm will supply fire extinguishers in all towers.
  • We only need training when we are hired.
  • You should preform a visual inspection on your fire extinguisher at least monthly, but daily is a best practice.