- The number of fire extinguishers in commercial buildings varies depending on the type and size of each business.
- Usually, the fire extinguisher should be placed within 75 feet of reach at most.
- If you have any concerns, consult an OSHA or NFPA agent.
Factors That Can Affect the Number of Fire Extinguishers
There are a few different factors that can affect the number and kind of fire extinguishers required in a business premises:
- the size and layout of the premises;
- the type of business or activity being carried out on the premises;
- fire hazard level.
So, how many fire extinguishers are required in a business’s premises?
The Size and Layout of the Premises
To calculate how many fire extinguishers are required, the business owner must be familiar with the square footage and layout of the premises. The size dictates the amount of time it would take for a fire to spread, and the layout determines the best places to position extinguishers.
The Type of Business
The type of business or activity being carried out also have an effect on the number of fire extinguishers required. If there are any dangerous chemicals or materials being used, then extra extinguishers will be needed.
The Fire Hazard Level
The fire hazard level is determined by a risk assessment and will take into account the type of business, the layout of the premises and any potential fire hazards. The results of the risk assessment will determine the level of fire protection required and, therefore, the number of extinguishers needed.
- Light fire hazard: these buildings have a low fire risk (don’t contain any dangerous chemicals or materials and have a good fire safety system in place). Such buildings include offices, churches, schools, and hotels.
- Ordinary fire hazard: these buildings have a moderate fire risk (contain some dangerous chemicals or materials, but have a good fire safety system in place). The best examples are dry cleaners, post offices, parking garages, and hardware stores.
- Extra fire hazard: these buildings have a high fire risk (contain many dangerous chemicals or materials), like factories, chemical plants, and gas stations.
- Commercial kitchens: kitchens have their own special category when it comes to fire hazards. The level of risk will depend on the type of cooking being done, the amount of grease and oil being used, and the layout of the kitchen.
Did You Know?Did you know that not all commercial kitchens and restaurants require sprinklers? Standalone buildings with occupancy below 100 people can exist without this form of fire suppression system.
Fire Safety: Types of Fire
Before we answer the question “how many fire extinguishers do I need in a commercial building,” we need to consider the different types of fire.
There are five main types of fire:
- class A: ordinary combustibles;
- class B: flammable liquids and gas;
- class C: electrical equipment;
- class D: combustible metals;
- class K: cooking oils and grease.
How Many Fire Extinguishers Are Required in a Business’s Premises?
Calculating how many fire extinguishers are required in a business’s premises is difficult, but maximum travel distance can help you out. This is the maximum distance that a person should have to travel to reach an extinguisher, measured in feet. For each class of fire, there are different guidelines:
- Class A fire ➡️ the maximum travel distance is 75 feet.
- Class B fire ➡️ the maximum travel distance is 50 feet.
- Class C fire ➡️ the extinguishers should be placed appropriately to the existing class A and B extinguishers.
- Class D fire ➡️ the maximum travel distance is 75 feet or less from the combustible metal working areas.
Before you open your own business, be sure to know all the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) requirements, and local ordinances for fire safety in commercial buildings!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the OSHA Rule for Fire Extinguisher Placement?
Fire extinguishers need to be in cabinets or brackets, and mounted above 3 to 5 feet above the floor.
Does Every Office Need a Fire Extinguisher?
No, unless there is a big fire hazard. Office building are required to have only 2 extinguishers per floor.
How Many Fire Exits Does an Office Need?
There should be at least two independent escape routes.
Now you know more or less how many fire extinguishers are required in a business’s premises. But what happens if you don’t comply? Read our article on “What Happens If Regulatory Policies for a Business Are Violated?“
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