#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (2023)

The type and placement of fire extinguishers depends on specific fire hazards, obstacles, and the building’s size

Portable fire extinguishers have proven extremely effective against small fires, with some surveys estimating that extinguishers stop them with 95% success. But because extinguishers are only designed to control fires in their earliest stages — and because fires can spread alarmingly fast – the only effective fire extinguisher is the one that’s easy to reach. In this article, we look at key sections of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and standards dealing with when fire extinguishers are needed and where they must be installed.

If you’d like to look at available products, view our selection of fire extinguishers, fire extinguisher cabinets, vehicle brackets, wall brackets, and decals plus other accessories.

Excluding family homes, buildings of all kinds are required to have fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are required in industrial, commercial, and residential buildings listed in NFPA 1: Fire Code. NFPA 1 mandates fire extinguishers in nearly every kind of building except family homes, duplexes, and manufactured homes.

From the 2021 edition of NFPA 1

13.6.1.2* Where Required. Fire extinguishers shall be provided where required by this Code as specified in Table 13.6.1.2 and the referenced codes and standards listed in Chapter 2.

NFPA 1 lists the types of buildings requiring portable fire extinguishers, defining them by occupancy classifications. Extinguishers must be installed in the occupancies listed in Table 13.6.1.2 of NFPA 1:

  • Ambulatory health care occupancies
  • Apartment occupancies
  • Assembly occupancies
  • Business occupancies
  • Day-care occupancies
  • Detention and correctional occupancies
  • Educational occupancies
  • Health care occupancies
  • Hotel and dormitory occupancies
  • Industrial occupancies
  • Lodging and rooming house occupancies
  • Mercantile occupancies
  • Occupancies in special structures
  • Residential board and care occupancies
  • Storage occupancies

Further, NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers states that fire extinguishers are required in these structures even when other fire prevention systems, such as fire sprinklers, are installed.

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

5.1.2 The selection of extinguishers shall be independent of whether the building is equipped with automatic sprinklers, standpipe and hose, or other fixed protection equipment.

Place all extinguishers where they’re easy to see and reach

Every fire extinguisher must be placed in a visible and easy-to-reach location with the label facing out. They should be installed along hallways, in meeting rooms, near exit doors, and in other common locations. Where visibility is obstructed, visual aids must be provided.

#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (2)

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

6.1.3 Placement.

6.1.3.1 Fire extinguishers shall be conspicuously located where they are readily accessible and immediately available in the event of fire.

6.1.3.2 Fire extinguishers shall be located along normal paths of travel, including exits from areas.

(Video) #130 | Wholesaling Real Estate Q&A

6.1.3.3 Visibility.

6.1.3.3.1 Fire extinguishers shall be installed in locations where they are visible except as permitted by 6.1.3.3.2 or or 6.1.3.3.3..

6.1.3.3.2* In rooms and in locations where visual obstructions cannot be avoided, signs or other means shall be provided to indicate the extinguisher location.

6.1.3.3.3 Fire extinguishers shall be permitted to be installed in fire extinguisher cabinets provided the extinguisher is visible or signs or other means are provided to indicate the extinguisher location.

6.1.3.5 Wheeled fire extinguishers shall be located in designated locations.

6.1.3.10 Label Visibility.

6.1.3.10.1 Fire extinguishers shall be installed so that the fire extinguisher’s operating instructions face outward.

The top of an extinguisher weighing 40 pounds or less may be installed as high as five feet above the floor. For heavier extinguishers, that maximum height drops to 3 1/2 feet. The base of each extinguisher must be at least 4 inches above the floor.

6.1.3.9 Installation Height.

6.1.3.9.1 Fire extinguishers having a gross weight not exceeding 40 lb (18.14 kg) shall be installed so that the top of the fire extinguisher is not more than 5 ft (1.53 m) above the floor.

6.1.3.9.2 Fire extinguishers having a gross weight greater than 40 lb (18.14 kg) (except wheeled types) shall be installed so that the top of the fire extinguisher is not more than 3 1/2 ft (1.07 m) above the floor.

6.1.3.9.3 In no case shall the clearance between the bottom of the hand portable fire extinguisher and the floor be less than 4 in. (102 mm).

Portable extinguishers without wheels must be kept on a wall bracket, on a hangar, or in an approved cabinet or wall recess. Regardless, all mounting heights must adhere to these guidelines.

Specific fire hazards and the building’s construction determine where fire extinguishers should be installed

Using the wrong extinguishing agent can backfire, making a fire drastically worse. As a result, the type of fire extinguishers needed and where they need to be placed also depend on the type and amount of combustible and flammable materials nearby.

(Video) Common Clutter: Living Rooms, Sitting Rooms, Family Rooms, and Dens - The Clutter Fairy Weekly #130

#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (3)

Fire extinguishers are selected and placed with two considerations in mind: the structure itself and the specific fire risks the building’s contents present.

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

5.5.2 Selection for Building Protection. Fire extinguishers for building protection shall be selected for Class A fires, regardless of the presence of any fixed fire suppression systems.

5.5.3 Selection for Occupancy Hazards. Fire extinguishers shall be selected for the occupancy hazards contained therein regardless of the presence of any fixed fire suppression systems.

5.5.3.1 Fire extinguishers for occupancy hazard protection shall be provided by fire extinguishers for Class A, B, C, D, or K fire hazards present or anticipated to be present.

5.5.3.2 Fire extinguishers selected for building protection shall be permitted to also be considered for occupancy hazard protection.

Extinguishers are classified according to local hazards and ambient temperature; the type and size of the fire that is most likely to occur; and the fuel type of potential fires: the specific kinds of combustible or flammable materials found in the structure. Not all things burn at the same rate or can be extinguished with the same kind of fire extinguisher: grease, oil, flammable metals, wood, and other substances burn differently. The type and amount of fuel found in a building determine the occupancy hazard — a measure of the expected severity of a fire — which, in turn, determines which kinds of extinguishers are required.

All fires, from ordinary paper fires to kitchen grease fires, belong to one of 5 fire classifications: Class A, B, C, D, or K.

#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (4)

Read our in-depth look at fire extinguisher types, fire classifications, and the use and servicing of fire extinguishers here.

These classifications are used to categorize a building — or parts of a building — as light hazard, ordinary hazard, or extra hazard.

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

5.4 Classification of Hazards.

5.4.1.1* Light Hazard. Light hazard occupancies shall be classified as locations where the quantity and combustibility of Class A combustibles and Class B flammables are low and fires with relatively low rates of heat release are expected. These occupancies consist of fire hazards having normally expected quantities of Class A combustible furnishings, and/or the total quantity of Class B flammables typically expected to be present is less than 1 gal (3.8 L) in any room or area.

5.4.1.2* Ordinary Hazard. Ordinary hazard occupancies shall be classified as locations where the quantity and combustibility of Class A combustible materials and Class B flammables are moderate and fires with moderate rates of heat release are expected. These occupancies consist of fire hazards that only occasionally contain Class A combustible materials beyond normal anticipated furnishings, and/or the total quantity of Class B flammables typically expected to be present is from 1 gal to 5 gal (3.8 L to 18.9 L) in any room or area.

(Video) #130 A “Hoya Saxa” Approach to Emergency Management - Interview with OEM Director Marc Barbiere

5.4.1.3* Extra Hazard. Extra hazard occupancies shall be classified as locations where the quantity and combustibility of Class A combustible material are high or where high amounts of Class B flammables are present and rapidly developing fires with high rates of heat release are expected. These occupancies consist of fire hazards involved with the storage, packaging, handling, or manufacture of Class A combustibles, and/or the total quantity of Class B flammables expected to be present is more than 5 gal (18.9 L) in any room or area.

5.4.1.4 Limited areas of greater or lesser hazard shall be protected as required.

#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (5)

All buildings require Class A extinguishers to stop fires on walls, floors, and other parts of the building. Additionally, fire extinguishers rated for class A, B, C, D, or K hazards must be installed when those hazards are present. A single fire extinguisher capable of fighting more than one type of fire, such as a combination ABC dry chemical extinguisher, may meet the requirements for multiple fire types.

#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (6)

Each fire extinguisher installed in accordance with NFPA 10 must be within a certain distance of the building’s occupants at all times. This travel distance indicates how far a person must walk in order to reach the extinguisher, and all obstructions — permanent or temporary — must be accounted for.

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

E.1.4
Travel distance is the actual distance the user of the fire extinguisher will need to walk. Consequently, travel distance will be affected by partitions, location of doorways, aisles, piles of stored materials, machinery, and so forth.

The travel distance for Class A and Class D fire extinguishers must be 75 feet or less

Extinguishers for a building’s Class A fire hazards must be placed such that the travel distance to a fire extinguisher is no more than 75 feet at any given location. This travel distance is the same for light hazard, ordinary hazard, and extra hazard occupancies. However, as many as half of these extinguishers may be replaced by onsite hose stations (if a specific standpipe system has them) with the same travel distance.

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

6.2.1.2.1 The minimum number of fire extinguishers for Class A hazards for each floor of a building shall be determined by dividing the total floor area by the maximum area to be protected per extinguisher as determined by Table 6.2.1.1. (See Annex E.) …

6.2.1.2.2 Fire extinguishers shall be located so that the maximum travel distances shall not exceed 75 ft (22.9 m), except as modified by 6.2.1.4.

6.2.1.4 Up to one-half of the complement of fire extinguishers specified in Table 6.2.1.1 shall be permitted to be replaced by uniformly spaced 1 1/2 in. (38 mm) hose stations for use by the occupants of the building.

#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (7)

Like Class A fire extinguishers, Class D fire extinguishers must also be no more than 75 feet away.

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

6.5 Installations for Class D Hazards.

6.5.2 Fire extinguishers or extinguishing agents (media) shall be located not more than 75 ft (22.9 m) of travel distance from the Class D hazard. (See Section E.6.)

Fire extinguishers for areas with Class B hazards must be no more than 30–50 feet away

The travel distance for required Class B extinguishers varies with the extinguisher’s size. The numbers in the ratings listed below in table 6.3.1.1 — from 5-B to 80-B — indicate how many square feet of coverage that the extinguisher can provide. For each type of hazard, extinguishers with lower minimum ratings must be placed no more than 30 feet away, while extinguishers with higher minimum ratings may be as far as 50 feet away.

(Video) #130: Master Your Unique Leader Voice & Growing Your Confidence with Leyah Valgardson

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

6.3 Installations for Class B Hazards.

6.3.1.3 Fire extinguishers shall be located so that the maximum travel distances do not exceed those specified in Table 6.3.1.1.

#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (8)

Class C-rated fire extinguishers are placed based on Class A and Class B requirements

Class C fires are simply A or B fires — or a combination of the two — that involve electrical equipment. As a result, placement for Class C fire extinguishers is based on the expected A or B hazards in the area.

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

6.4* Installations for Class C Hazards.

6.4.3 Because the fire is a Class A or Class B hazard, the fire extinguishers shall be sized and located on the basis of the anticipated Class A or Class B hazard.

Class K-rated fire extinguishers may be no more than 30 feet away

Class K extinguishers are designed for fires in commercial kitchens and should be placed near deep-fryers and other cooking surfaces. Barbecues, ovens, and other cooking appliances utilizing solid fuel, such as charcoal, require a K-rated extinguisher nearby if their fuel chamber, or firebox, is more than five cubic feet in size. An important note: “Class K” extinguishers are different than “Purple K” extinguishers, which are actually Class B:C. Purple K is simply the name of the dry chemical extinguishing agent in those specific devices.

From the 2022 edition of NFPA 10

6.6 Installations for Class K Hazards.

6.6.2 Maximum travel distance shall not exceed 30 ft (9.1 m) from the hazard to the extinguishers.

6.7 Solid-Fuel Cooking Appliances. All solid fuel cooking appliances (whether or not under a hood) with fire boxes of 5 ft3 (0.14 m3) volume or less shall have at least a listed 2-A-rated water-type fire extinguisher or a 1.6 gal (6 L) wet-chemical fire extinguisher that is listed for Class K fires.

#130 – When and Where Should Fire Extinguishers Be Installed? A Practical Guide for Building Owners (9)

Choosing and placing fire extinguishers

If you need additional fire extinguishers to comply with NFPA placement guidelines, take a look at our selection of ABC-rated dry chemical extinguishers, BC-rated CO2 extinguishers, and Purple K extinguishers. Or jump straight to the extinguisher or accessory you need from the table below:

(Video) #130 - Why a Business Will Fail Without Systems with Michael Gerber

ABC Fire Extinguishers

2.5 lb Buckeye ABC Fire Extinguisher w/ Vehicle Bracket | Dry Chemical | 1A:10B:C5 lb Buckeye ABC Dry Chemical Extinguisher 3A:40B:C
10 lb Buckeye ABC Dry Chemical Extinguisher 4A:80B:C20 lb Buckeye ABC Dry Chemical Extinguisher 10A:120B:C

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

5 lb Buckeye CO2 Extinguisher 5B:C10 lb Buckeye CO2 Extinguisher 10B:C
15 lb Buckeye CO2 Extinguisher 10B:C20 lb Buckeye CO2 Extinguisher 10B:C

Purple K Fire Extinguishers

20 lb Buckeye Purple K Extinguisher 120B:C

Accessories

Vehicle BracketsCabinets
CoversDecals

Each extinguisher is compliant with standards established by the NFPA, Department of Transportation, and the US Coast Guard. Matching fire extinguisher wall-mounting brackets, vehicle brackets, as well as extinguisher cabinets, covers, and other fire extinguisher accessories are available.

If you have any questions about placing or replacing your fire extinguishers, call us at 888.361.6662, email [emailprotected], or get in touch through our contact page.

FAQs

Where should fire extinguishers be located? ›

Place all extinguishers where they're easy to see and reach. Every fire extinguisher must be placed in a visible and easy-to-reach location with the label facing out. They should be installed along hallways, in meeting rooms, near exit doors, and in other common locations.

When should you use a fire extinguisher? ›

You should only consider using a fire extinguisher if all members of your home have been alerted to the fire and the fire department has been called. Also, make sure you are safe from smoke and that the fire is not between you and your only escape route.

What fire extinguishers should be on a construction site? ›

Fire extinguishers should be located at identified fire points around the site.
...
The extinguishers should be appropriate to the nature of the potential fire:
  • wood, paper and cloth – water extinguisher;
  • flammable liquids – dry powder or foam extinguisher;
  • electrical – carbon dioxide (C02) extinguisher.
9 Mar 2022

What are the legal requirements for fire extinguishers? ›

Fire extinguishers must be accessible and visible. Water-based and CO2 fire extinguishers should be located by exits and fire alarm call-points to encourage people to move away from the fire.

Why are fire extinguishers placed near fire exits? ›

The aim is to encourage people to move towards the exit rather than go further into the building, and into danger, to find an extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are also often located near fire alarm call points so that someone can raise the alarm and then pick up an extinguisher.

Do fire extinguishers need to be mounted at a certain height? ›

Extinguishers need to be installed at least 4 inches off the ground up to a maximum of 5ft.

What are fire extinguisher and safety procedures used for? ›

Discharge the extinguisher within its effective range using the P.A.S.S. technique (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep). Back away from an extinguished fire in case it flames up again. Evacuate immediately if the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out.

Which of the following is important to remember when using a fire extinguisher? ›

Important: Choose the correct class of extinguisher for the fire situation. Never fight a fire alone. Use the PASS method. PULL, AIM, SQUEEZE, SWEEP.

Why do we need to use fire extinguisher? ›

Fire extinguishers can be a small but important part of the home fire safety plan. They can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or suppressing it until the fire department arrives.

What are the fire safety requirements for a building? ›

Assess fire safety measures in your built environment with the help of this checklist:
  • Provide adequate means of escape. ...
  • Outline clear pathways to exit doors. ...
  • Install smoke detection systems. ...
  • Maintain smoke suppression systems. ...
  • Conduct regular fire drills. ...
  • Use flame-retardant materials in interiors.
4 Jan 2009

Do you need signage for fire extinguishers? ›

Various regulations mean that when you place a fire extinguisher, you should accompany it with a sign. When at work, it is important to provide “adequate training or instruction” with tools or equipment. So if you're intending for employees and visitors to use it, you need to tell them how.

Is fire extinguisher training a legal requirement? ›

Did you know? Employers are legally required by law (The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) to provide information, instruction and training to employees about fire precautions in the workplace.

How many fire extinguishers are required in construction? ›

One or more fire extinguishers, rated not less than 2A, shall be provided on each floor. In multistory buildings, at least one fire extinguisher shall be located adjacent to stairway.

What is fire prevention on construction sites? ›

Construction Site Fire Safety Tips

Substituting flammable building materials with flame retardant products wherever possible. Keeping the site free of discarded trash. Strictly enforcing no smoking policies. Restricting the use of space heaters in high-risk areas.

What size fire extinguisher do I need on a construction site? ›

Specific Regulations

The law states that at least one extinguisher suitable for Class A, B, and C fires must be placed alongside the exits on every story of a building under construction. Fire hydrants with fire reels are also required once a building exceeds 12 metres in height.

Do fire extinguishers have to be mounted on the wall? ›

Fire extinguishers need to be mounted to the wall so that they are secure, visible, and readily accessible. It is also important to mount them in such a way that they cannot be easily moved or damaged.

What is the OSHA standard for fire extinguishers? ›

OSHA requires a minimum-rated 10B fire extinguisher be provided within 50 feet of the point of job site use of more than 5 gallons of flammable or combustible liquids or 5 pounds of flammable gas.

Why can't fire extinguishers be on the floor? ›

In addition to accessibility issues, fire extinguishers placed on the floor may be more susceptible to corrosion. A standing extinguisher can be knocked over—and corrosion-resistant coatings may be removed if the extinguisher is inadvertently kicked or hit.

How many fire extinguishers should be in a house? ›

Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher that is easily accessible. Some homes should have at three or more, depending on the number of rooms and floors. Of course, while fire extinguishers control or extinguish small fires, they aren't appropriate for large blazes.

Videos

1. Copy.ai Live Demo #130: How To Write Copy To Sell Your Online Course
(CopyAI)
2. #130: Personal Finance for the Tech Community with Pete The Planner
(Powderkeg)
3. The Official Podcast #130: Gamers Are Oppressed
(penguinz0)
4. Weekly Scrap #120 - Ray McCormack, Keep Fire in Your Life
(Firehouse Vigilance)
5. Local Search Clinic: Local Link Building with Gyi Tsakalakis
(BrightLocal)
6. How to Dissect (and Outrank) Competing Websites - The Income Stream Day #130
(Pat Flynn)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated: 02/19/2023

Views: 5634

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Birthday: 1994-06-25

Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

Phone: +128413562823324

Job: IT Strategist

Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.