Prior to fighting any fire with a portable fire extinguisher you must perform a fire risk assessment that evaluates the fire size, the fire fighters evacuation path, and the atmosphere in the vicinity of the fire.
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|Risk Assessment Question||Characteristics of incipient stage fires or fires that can be extinguished with portable fire extinguishers||Characteristics of fires that
SHOULD NOT be fought with a portable fire extinguisher (beyond incipient stage) – evacuate immediately
|Is the fire too big?||The fire is limited to the original material ignited, it is contained (such as in a waste basket) and has not spread to other materials. The flames are no higher than the firefighter’s head.||The fire involves flammable solvents, has spread over more than 60 square feet, is partially hidden behind a wall or ceiling, or cannot be reached from a standing position.|
|Is the air safe to breathe?||The fire has not depleted the oxygen in the room and is producing only small quantities of toxic gases. No respiratory protection equipment is required.||Due to smoke and products of combustion, the fire cannot be fought without respiratory protection.|
|Is the environment too hot or smoky?||Heat is being generated, but the room temperature is only slightly increased. Smoke may be accumulating on the
ceiling, but visibility is good. No special personal protective equipment is required.
|The radiated heat is easily felt on exposed skin making it difficult to approach within 10-15 feet of the fire (or the effective range of the extinguisher). One must crawl on the floor due to heat or smoke. Smoke is quickly filling the room, decreasing visibility.|
|Is there a safe evacuation path?||There is a clear evacuation path that is behind you as you fight the fire.||The fire is not contained, and fire, heat, or smoke may block the evacuation path.|