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35.24 - Fire Extinguishers


  • Position: Environmental Health and Safety Director
  • Email:

Last updated: June 03, 2011

A. General. Fire extinguishers are provided to extinguish small fires while in their beginning stage. Warning: Do not attempt to extinguish large or rapidly growing fires. Only persons trained in the use of extinguishers should attempt to fight a fire. Fire extinguishers are required to be visible and readily accessible at all times.

A-1. Regulatory Requirements. The International Fire Code, adopted by the State of Idaho under Idaho Code section §41-253, and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 10 require placement of fire extinguishers throughout university facilities. [ed. 6-11]

B. Types. Different types of fires require different types of extinguishers. Fire extinguisher labels explain the types of fires they are configured for. Fire types and appropriate types of extinguishers are classified as follows:

B-1. Class A. Class A type fires are those that involve “ordinary” combustible fuels, such as wood, wood by-products (paper, cardboard, etc.), cloth, and some plastics. Examples of Class A fire extinguishers: Pressurized water units, multiĀ­purpose dry chemical units and certain foaming agents.

B-2. Class B. Class B type fires are those that involve flammable liquids. Flammable liquids include gasoline, oils, solvents, greases, and most liquid forms of petroleum products. Examples of Class B fire extinguishers: Carbon dioxide, dry chemicals of most types, and most foaming agents. [rev. 6-11]

B-3. Class C. Class C type fires are those that involve energized electrical equipment. All “C” class units utilize a non-conductive agent. They may or may not be the required type for the fuel involved. Warning: It is important to make sure the unit has both a “C” designation and the rating for the fuel involved before attempting to use the extinguisher. The energy source involved must be shut-off to prevent the fire from re-igniting. [ed. 6-11]

B-4. Class D. Class D type of fires are those that involve combustible metals such as titanium, magnesium and sodium. Fire extinguishers for these types of fires must be specifically designed for the metal (or combination) involved.

C. Procedures.

C-1. Availability. Fire extinguishers must be readily available to building occupants in case of fire. Fire extinguishers are only effective in the very early stages of a fire. Time allowed to safely retrieve an extinguisher and return to the fire is limited. As such, fire codes require a limit of seventy-five (75) feet of travel distance from any point within a building to a fire extinguisher. [ed. 6-11]

C-2. Maintenance. Fire extinguishers are required to be maintained and ready for use at all times. Facilities personnel inspect and maintain extinguishers for academic buildings on campus. Auxiliary units and locations outside of Moscow should use qualified vendors to inspect, maintain and recharge assigned extinguishers. [ed. 6-11]

i) Monthly Inspections. Facilities personnel will inspect each unit for damage, loss of pressure, mounting location and availability. Monthly inspections should be certified on the attached labels for each unit. After twelve (12) consecutive monthly inspections, the unit is due for annual maintenance. [ed. 6-11]

ii) Annual Maintenance. Facilities personnel (or qualified vendors) should perform periodic maintenance inspections at least once a year, including all operating components of the unit, and if necessary, verify the condition of the extinguishing agent. The pressure test date is certified and, if necessary, a hydrostatic test is performed. [ed. 6-11]

iii) Recharging or Replacement. If fire extinguishers are used, damaged or missing from their usual location, contact Facilities at (208) 885-6246 for immediate recharging or replacement. [ed. 6-11]

C-3. Placement. The type and size of fire extinguisher available in each location has been determined by the anticipated use of that area. If the use of an area changes, or the addition of a new process or procedure creates additional hazards, or if there are doubts regarding the type of fire extinguisher required for a particular area, conduct a survey to verify proper fire equipment coverage. These surveys may be requested from the Environmental Health and Safety Office at (208) 885-6524. [ed. 6-11]

D. Educational Opportunities. Environmental Health and Safety personnel provide fire safety and fire equipment training upon request. For further information or to schedule training workshops call (208) 885-6524. [ed. 6-11]

E. Information. For additional information on fire extinguisher use and types, contact Environmental Health and Safety at (208) 885-6524. [add. 6-11]

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Campus Locations

Physical Address:
Bruce M. Pitman Center
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Phone: 208-885-6111

Fax: 208-885-9119