Fires are among the many hazards present at golf maintenance facilities. In fact, OSHA states that a fire is the most common emergency that a business should prepare for.

The correct use of a fire extinguisher is invaluable to help stop small fires, or even to clear evacuation routes in case of a large fire. We stress the word correct, because there are lots of wrong ways to use a fire extinguisher. This is why OSHA requires employers to train employees every year on how to assess fire hazards as well as how to use a fire extinguisher.   Every person who works in the facility should know the answer to a few basic fire and extinguisher related questions: 

When should a fire extinguisher be used?

Fire extinguishers aren’t meant to be used on just any type of fire; they’re meant to be used on small fires. If the following conditions are not met, everyone should evacuate the area and call the fire department immediately.

  •  The fire is small and within reach – the fire should be small enough that a fire extinguisher can put it out within 10 seconds. To extinguish it, it should be within reach. If the fire is too large, cannot be reached, is partially hidden, or covers over 60 square feet, employees should evacuate. 
  • Air is safe to breathe – Fires should only be attempted to be extinguished with a fire extinguisher if the air is safe to breathe without requiring respiratory protection.
  • The environment is not hot or smoky – If the area is too hot or smoky to get within 15 feet of the fire, no one should attempt to use a portable fire extinguisher. 
  • Evacuation routes are clear – If evacuation routes are not clear due to smoke, heat, or unconfined flames, do not try to extinguish the fire – unless it is necessary in order to evacuate.  

What type of fire extinguisher should be used?

As you probably know, there are various types of fire extinguishers, each designed to extinguish different types of fires. Employees should be properly trained on each type of fire extinguisher present at your facility. They should also know how to determine which extinguisher is suitable for each type of fire.

An understanding of fire extinguisher labels is essential. Your employees should know what the A,B,C classifications mean, as well as how to read and interpret the number that goes before the A, B or C rating. Keep in mind that the number before the rating has a different meaning for each type of extinguisher. Consider quizzing your employees on fire extinguisher selection and labeling.

How should a fire extinguisher be used?

Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is very important, and all employees need to be trained to do so. The PASS method is a simple fire extinguishing technique you can use to train your employees. It’s easy to teach and to remember.

PASS Method

P – Pull the pin 

A – Aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire  

S – Squeeze the handle  

S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base until the fire is extinguished

Fire extinguisher use is only one of the many components of the fire safety measures and safety training required to ensure safety at your facility. To ensure safety at your facility and be in compliance with OSHA, you should also have a full fire safety plan. The best way to keep your golf course and workplace safe are to make sure that all team members are trained and aware of the importance of following safety guidelines, and that they are properly informed and trained on safety procedures.

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