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In the first few seconds after discovering a fire, you must make a difficult decision: fight or flight. Can you effectively and safely use an extinguisher on the fire? The first step in case of a fire in your work area is to size up the situation, make sure the alarm system has been activated, the fire department has been called and your personal evacuation route is assured. 

A fire extinguisher should only be used if the fire is in its initial stages, you know how to use it properly, you have the correct rated extinguisher for the class of fire, and you are confident you can put the fire out. Also, you must take care not to be overcome by smoke. Make sure that the smoke is limited and that you can easily avoid it while using the extinguisher. If you have any doubt about your safety and that of others around you, evacuate the area immediately.  

When an industrial fire occurs, there may be dangerous by-products of combustion in the air that are harmful to breathe, as well as intense heat and potential explosions. These conditions can result in serious danger to anyone in the area and especially to anyone in proximity to the fire. 

As a result, the number one priority in this situation is to sound the fire alarm, immediately evacuate everyone from the danger area, and notify emergency responders or the fire department. Always follow your company’s fire emergency plan for evacuation and notification procedures. This should include both a primary and secondary evacuation route and an assembly point at a safe location. Be sure to stay at the assembly point until a headcount is taken and you are officially released from the area.

Also, if your facility is equipped with fire doors, be sure that they remain closed to prevent the spread of fire to adjacent areas. If you open them to escape from an area, make sure they are closed after all of the people inside have been evacuated. These areas should be regularly inspected to ensure exits and fire doors are not blocked and functioning properly.



Get more information about the Fire Extinguisher Safety Course.