Blog Posts: Fire Extinguishers

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Understanding the difference between various fire extinguishers can help you choose the best one for your office configuration. Here’s what you need to know about different types of fire extinguishers.

Class A

Class A extinguishers put out fires that occur in ordinary combustible materials, such as:

  • Paper.
  • Wood.
  • Cloth.
  • Rubber.
  • Plastic.

These extinguishers utilize water or other types of dry chemicals to absorb heat and put out the fire. You can tell an extinguisher is designated for Class A fires if it is labeled with a triangle containing the letter “A.”

Class B

If you’re faced with a fire caused by flammable liquid or gases, it can be extinguished with a Class B fire extinguisher. This includes:

  • Oil or oil-based paints.
  • Fuel.
  • Petroleum grease.
  • Tar.
  • Lacquers.
  • Alcohol.

This extinguisher works by depriving the fire of oxygen, which is one of the main components it needs to burn. It also prevents the fire from releasing combustible vapors, therefore causing it to die out. Extinguishers suitable for Class B fires are marked with the letter “B” inside a small square.

Class C

Class C fire extinguishers are designed to put out electrical fires that arise from circuit breakers, panels and live wires. This extinguisher works by releasing materials that halt electrical conduction. Once the electrical equipment has been stripped of its energy, you can use a class A or B extinguisher to put out the fire. Class C extinguishers are labeled with the letter “C” in a circle.

Class D

Class D extinguishers are used on fires that are caused by the ignition of flammable metals, including:

  • Magnesium.
  • Titanium.
  • Aluminum.
  • Sodium.
  • Potassium.
  • Lithium.

This extinguisher is best for combustible metals because they don’t react with each other. Extinguishers designated for Class D fires feature the letter “D” inside a five-point star.

Class K

Most commonly utilized in restaurant kitchens, class K extinguishers are used to put out cooking fires caused by fats, oils and greases. This extinguisher uses a process called saponification to put out fires. The extinguisher releases an alkaline mixture that combines with the burning oil or fat and creates a soapy foam. This foam traps gases and puts out the fire. These extinguishers are marked with the letter “K.”

Fire extinguisher installation is required for every commercial building in New York City, and the FDNY can issue a fine of up to $1,000 if your building violates a requirement. At Allstate Sprinkler, our team of experienced professionals can install fire extinguishers in accordance with NYC’s regulations and help you avoid costly fines. Call us today for a free estimate.

 

Although a commercial fire sprinkler system is an effective method of putting out flames, it’s still important to understand how to prevent fires in the workplace in case an emergency does arise. Here are a few tips on how you can reduce fire hazards and make your business a safer environment in which to work.

Maintain Easy Access to Fire Equipment

Ensuring that all of your fire protection equipment is easily accessible and not blocked by furniture or other items is one of the most important steps in fire prevention. Be sure that everyone in the workplace knows the location of the fire extinguishers and how to properly use them. You should also keep fire sprinklers or alarms free of dust, debris or any other material that may hinder their functionality. Fire protection equipment is one of the most effective ways to save lives, so you want to ensure that everything is easily accessible.

Keep an Eye on Fire-Prone Areas

Every workplace has certain areas that are especially susceptible to fires. These can include:

  • Electrical storage rooms.
  • Rooms with electrical equipment, such as the kitchen.
  • Areas containing flammable or hazardous materials.

To reduce the chances of a fire in the office, be sure to unplug electrical equipment when not in use. You should also exercise caution around flammable materials by keeping them away from heat sources and storing them in a flammables cabinet.

Create a Designated Smoking Area

Smoking is a major fire hazard and one of the leading causes of workplace fires. Therefore, it’s important to create a designated smoking area for employees that’s a safe distance away from the building. You can also offer ashtrays for proper disposal of cigarettes, which can keep your business safe from fires caused by lit cigarettes.

Regularly Test Your Fire Safety Equipment

Unfortunately, there are thousands of fires that occur each year due to malfunctioning fire safety equipment. The good news is that you can easily prevent this by regularly testing your fire extinguisher and fire alarms. All commercial buildings in New York City are required to have fire equipment installed and regularly inspected to ensure optimal functioning. In addition, the FDNY is able to request proof of inspection at any time and can impose fines up to $1,000 for failing to comply.

At Allstate Sprinkler, our team of experienced inspectors can regularly inspect your fire extinguishers to ensure optimal functioning. We also keep your records up to date in the event of an FDNY review. Contact us today to request a free estimate.

 

Fire has been the bane of urban society since the dawn of civilization. Before the 19th Century, cities were often left to burn down. This all changed when large cities created professional fire departments. However, even today, emergency services still take time to arrive – and it’s those precious minutes that can turn an inconvenience into a tragedy.

This is why the fire sprinkler industry is so critical for life safety. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) requires a certain number and type of portable fire extinguishers to exist within all businesses throughout New York City.. Each extinguisher must be tagged and appropriate for the most likely source of fire in the immediate area. But how effective are they, really?

What Are the Facts? 

The National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED) conducted surveys to ascertain the real-world effectiveness of portable extinguishers. The results show that, when used properly, hand-held extinguishers were capable of extinguishing fires approximately 95% of the time – and could often suppress the fire in the other cases. In 72% of all cases, a single extinguisher was used.

In the NAFED surveys, the users of the extinguishers were untrained civilians. Also, these statistics probably underestimate the true effectiveness, whereas the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that approximately 90% of household fires are not reported, meaning that they were extinguished immediately at the source.

How Should You Use Them? 

The first rule in using fire extinguishers is safety. If you have any doubt whatsoever about the fire getting out of control — leave immediately. Otherwise, grab the extinguisher, pull the safety pin and aim at the base of the flames. Squeeze the handle and sweep from side to side as necessary.

Each extinguisher has different types of chemical fire retardants and FDNY regulations require the appropriate type of chemicals to be located near certain sources of possible ignition. The label on the fire extinguisher will indicate which type of combustible for which it is intended.  Most combustibles fall under the category known as ‘ABC’ — including a wide variety of suppression capabilities.

What if It Doesn’t Put the Fire Out? 

No problem! The goal using fire extinguishers isn’t necessarily to put out the fire, it’s to suppress and contain the fire for you and the occupants of the building to get out safely until the fire department arrives. Once first responders are on scene, and if the fire has been isolated to a small area, they’ll be able to immediately extinguish it and start clearing out the smoke.

How Do You Keep Your Extinguishers in Working Condition? 

All facilities throughout the five boroughs of NYC require a specific number of portable fire extinguishers based on the size and layout of the facility as well as the commodities being stored, manufactured or sold. These extinguishers must also be inspected by a licensed and certified company.

Allstate Sprinkler is licensed and certified by the FDNY as well as approved by the Department of Buildings as a Master Fire sprinkler contractor. For over 50 years, we’ve sold, inspected, installed, tested and serviced fire protection equipment for the greater New York area. We’ve built our business on our reputation and dedication to fire safety.

Our full time staff of more than 130 employees are prepared and certified to help you keep your building(s) safe. We maintain all inspection records digitally for immediate accessibility and can quickly resolve any violations you may receive.

During a real fire situation, your front-line defense includes portable fire extinguishers and  sprinkler systems. Both need to be inspected and tested regularly, yet both have a history of poor-quality inspections.

Portable fire extinguishers are especially known for receiving substandard inspections in the greater New York City market. 

The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) is specifically identifying “unscrupulous companies charging businesses inflated fees for these services, and then failing to perform necessary servicing.”

A Big Savings 

In most cases, hand-held extinguishers are highly effective in suppressing a fire. The National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors found that portable extinguishers were effective in either extinguishing or suppressing fires in approximately 95% of cases.

Suppression is the key. Fires tend to grow rapidly once they are well-established within a structure. When the temperature inside reaches a certain point, a flashover may occur,  effectively causing an entire room/structure to ignite.

With the proper application of fire suppressant, most fires can be controlled, isolated, and the  heat reduced until emergency services arrive. In most cases where the fire was contained until the fire department was on the scene, damages were limited to local heat damage and manageable amounts of smoke damage.

A Serious Problem 

All portable fire extinguishers in NYC are required to be inspected annually by a licensed fire protection company. Unfortunately, if the inspecting company is not properly servicing your fire sprinkler equipment, when a true emergency occurs, it may be too late. .

The FDNY has noted a history of misconduct from a number of fire protection companies. 

Cited examples of unprofessional behavior include:

  • Overcharging for services not rendered
  • Not maintaining the appropriate licenses 
  • Deceitful inspection practices
  • Fraudulently attaching other companies’ tags to extinguishers

New York City officials have brought legal action against these untrustworthy companies. Current regulations require that your fire extinguisher inspection company holds an active license issued by the FDNY with their staff members maintaining individual certificates of fitness issued by the FDNY as well.

All fire extinguishers in New York City must have a fire department-issued decal or tag attached to it. Each tag must have a serial number for on-site verification by the FDNY. You must also maintain a full record of all inspections and servicing of the equipment, as well as the names and certificate numbers of all inspectors for a minimum of three years.

A Simple Solution 

Allstate Sprinkler is a NYC Licensed Master Fire Suppression Contractor and certified by the FDNY to perform the inspections, testing, sales and servicing of portable fire extinguishers as well as fire sprinkler systems. Servicing the greater NYC area for almost -50- years, Allstate Sprinkler’s family owned business has been entrusted by its customers, the FDNY and the Department of Buildings to provide outstanding life saving services 

All inspection records are digitally secured for instant access by officials, and our shop is fully stocked with spare parts and our fire extinguisher technicians know exactly what types of fire extinguishers need to be installed in each area or your facility.