Small Business Brief

Office, Safety & Loss Prevention

How Many Fire Extinguishers Do I Need in My Office?

The U.S. Fire Department responds to an average of 3,340 office fires per year.

No matter how safe we try to be, it’s important to prepare for the worst. That’s why arming your office building with fire extinguishers is so important.

If you’re wondering, How many fire extinguishers do I need? Then continue reading for your complete guide on fire extinguishers for your office building.

How Many Fire Extinguishers Do I Need?

When it comes to determining how many fire extinguishers you need for your office, building codes and OSHA standards use the hazard level and square footage of a building to provide requirements. 

Light Hazard

If your office building is a “light hazard” it means it doesn’t contain a lot of combustible material. For this situation, it is recommended that an extinguisher is placed every 75 feet.

Ordinary Fire Hazard I

In this circumstance, there may be a slightly higher risk of fire because of small amounts of flammable liquids or materials. These are places like fabric stores. Here, fire extinguishers are also placed 75 feet apart.

Ordinary Fire Hazard II

These are places such as hardware stores or parking garages. Because they house flammable materials closer together, they pose a higher risk. Here, extinguishers should be kept between 30 to 50 feet apart.

Extra Fire Hazard

For these buildings, a fire hazard is much more likely because of the number of combustible materials. Here the extinguishers should be larger. They should be placed 30 to 50 feet apart.

Commercial Kitchens

Because commercial kitchens house a lot of flammable cooking oils and open flames, they are considered at a much higher risk of fire. Therefore, extinguishers should be placed every 30 feet. 

What is Your Fire Risk?

Before you can purchase any fire extinguishers, you need to know what your fire risk is. This will determine the size of the extinguisher you buy. It will also affect what type of extinguisher too.

The NFPA 10 was created by the National Fire Protection Association, this guide has every detail necessary to make sure your office is up to code for the fire protection necessary. 

When shopping for a fire extinguisher, you’ll notice that they are categorized by class. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the different classes:

Class A Fires  

These are the most common types of fire. They are typically caused by common combustible products such as wood, paper, plastic, and fabric. It’s most likely that your office and most buildings are at risk for a Class A fire. 

Class B Fires

A Class B fire is caused by a flammable liquid such as gasoline, oil, propane, or kerosene.

Class C Fires

These fires are caused by electric wiring. They are dangerous in that they can cause electrocution.

If you’re not sure which Class Fire extinguisher to purchase. The best way to be safe is to buy extinguishers that can combat all three types of fires. These are considered multi-purpose ABC fire extinguishers.

Safety First

We hope this information has helped you answer the question, “How many fire extinguishers do I need in my office?” If you ever have a doubt about whether you are meeting fire protection codes, be sure to contact a professional who can help you. 

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