The Importance of Knowing Where the Fire Extinguisher Is

The Importance of Knowing Where the Fire Extinguisher Is

Fire is a tool that man discovered in prehistoric times. Throughout all that time, man has developed the use of fire, and how to control it. Even so, sometimes fires break out and cause damage. Many people, animals, and even plants have been lost to fire disasters. To prevent or minimize the loss of life and damage to properties, firefighting methods and tools have been invented and refined.

Equally important to having firefighting tools on hand, it is vital to know where these tools are. The tools, after all, are worthless if they cannot be found and used when the need arises. Fire extinguishers, in particular, must be easily found. Fire extinguisher signs are used to mark the location of these effective firefighting tools.

In most countries around the world, fire safety laws require at least one extinguisher in each office or home. Included in these laws are rules dictating placement and identification of extinguishers. The signs must also possess certain properties, like size of text, readability, pictographs used, et cetera. Modern signs also identify the type of the extinguishers they mark, and include a summary of types of fires that can be handled by the specific fireextinguisher they mark. Some signs are also “glow-in-the-dark”, to make them easy to spot in dark conditions.

To emphasize the point, perhaps a short story would be appropriate. We have John, an office worker. John is working at his desk, and decides to get a cup of coffee from the coffee break room. As he plugs the coffee machine in, the socket sparks, and starts burning! Worse, a nearby trash bin filled with discarded tissue paper also catches fire. John keeps his cool, as he knows panic is the worst enemy in times like this. He looks around for the fire controller. A sign at eye level marks out the fire extinguisher in one corner of the room. He runs to the fire extinguisher, and checks if the fire extinguisher is suitable for electrical and ordinary combustible fires. Seeing that the fire extinguisher is marked as suitable for both, he pulls the pin, and points the nozzle at the base of the fire. He squeezes the handle, and the fire extinguisher does its work. The fire goes out. There’s a big mess of fire extinguishing agent and burnt paper and the coffee machine has shorted out, but at least the fire did not get bigger. John receives praise from his colleagues and superiors for his decisiveness and quick actions.

Now, what might have happened if the sign was not there to mark the fire extinguishers’ location? John would have taken longer to find the fire extinguisher, and by the time he does, the fire might have become too big to deal with using a fire extinguisher. The office is evacuated while the built-in fire control system activates. The fire is extinguished, but the entire office and everyone is wet. The office computers have also shorted out due to water exposure, and stacks of documents are rendered useless. Even worse, if the fire spread too quickly, the building might have burned down.

So now you understand the importance of signs that point out where fire extinguishing tools are stored. Fire extinguisher signs are just as important as having the fire extinguishers themselves. Make sure you put up signs properly, and that you know how to use fire extinguishers. In addition, memorize the telephone number of the local fire department. Lastly, follow fire safety rules and keep your workplace or home safe from fires. After all, prevention is better than cure!