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Where to place fire extinguishers

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Photo: Jennifer Yario

Are your workplace fire extinguishers in the right place? According to the National Fire Protection Association, employers need to consider two key factors: accessibility and visibility.
Accessible: “Extinguishers should be placed where they are readily accessible in the event of a fire, which typically includes normal paths of travel.”
Visible: “If visual obstructions cannot be avoided, then arrows, lights or signs are needed to help indicate where a fire extinguisher is located.”

Then, depending on the weight of your extinguisher, NFPA has more placement guidelines.

If your extinguisher weighs more than 40 pounds:

  • The top of the extinguisher can’t be more than 3.5 feet from the ground.
  • The bottom of the extinguisher must be at least 4 inches off the ground.

If it weighs less than 40 pounds:

  • The top of the extinguisher can’t be more than 5 feet from the ground.
  • The bottom of extinguisher must be at least 4 inches off the ground.

In both cases, NPFA notes, “this includes extinguishers in cabinets, but it does not include wheeled extinguishers.” 

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