Multi-purpose "ABC" extinguishers can be purchased to handle all classes of office fires. These chemical-based extinguishers can cause damage to electronic equipment. However, water extinguishers must not be used if an electrical current is present because of the danger of electrical shock. A fire in electronic equipment rooms will almost always require the use of an "ABC" rated fire extinguisher: "A" because there is likely to be paper nearby, "B" because there may be oil or grease involved and “C because it is electrical equipment.
Tenants are responsible for making arrangements with Building Management to protect areas such as computer rooms, mailrooms, duplicating, and storage areas with fire rated enclosures and fire extinguishers. Depending on the size and value of these areas, smoke detectors or automatic extinguishing systems are recommended.
Fire Extinguisher Operation
When using a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS.
- PULL the pin. Some extinguishers require releasing a latch or pressing a puncture lever.
- AIM low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire.
- SQUEEZE the handle. This releases the extinguishing agent.
- SWEEP from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Watch the fire area in case fire breaks out again, and repeat the use of the extinguisher if necessary.
Most portable extinguishers work according to these directions, but some do not. Be prepared by making sure you read the directions on your fire extinguishers before a fire emergency happens.