Take Action

1) Find your closest fire extinguisher. What type of fire is it designed to extinguish?

2) When was the last time it was inspected? If it has been more than a month, let your supervisor know.

3) Does it look like the fire extinguisher will work? 

  • If it has a guage, is it in the green?
  • Is it in a place with easy access?
  • Is it in good shape without signs of damage such as rust, dents or parts missing? 
  • If not, it is not going to do any good in event of a fire so tell your supervisor!

4) Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher? If not, ask your supervisor! 

Did You Know?

Failure to perform monthly fire extinguisher inspections is one of the most common OSHA violations documented in the National Park Service.

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The Structural Fire Program has many resources to help you provide an effective fire prevention program in your park.

Visit our website at: Structural Fire at InsideNPS

Regional Structural Fire Staff:

For more fire prevention resources go to: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Submit ideas and feedback:NIFC_NPS_Prevention52@nps.gov

Fire Extinguishers 101

Here are the top three misconceptions about fire extinguishers that can be quite dangerous and could lead to fatal mistakes:

Myth 1. Fire extinguishers are all the same.

Even if all canisters look alike, the contents and purpose of the extinguishers are not. Take the time to research what type of extinguisher you have at home or near your work station. Using a water based fire extinguisher for a stove top grease fire could have fatal consequences.

Myth 2. Once installed fire extinguishers can be ignored.

To be effective fire extinguishers must be maintained. The best way to determine if maintenance is required is by conduct monthly inspections as required by NFPA Chapter 10, section 6.2.1.

Myth 3. Fire extinguishers can be put anywhere.

Although most units are small enough to fit in nearly any size of cabinet, will you be able to find the fire extinguisher in an emergency? For convenience and safety purposes, fire extinguishers should be installed on a wall near the fire exit. This way they can be easily grabbed and at the same time the person using it can go out the same exit if the fire proves to be unconquerable.

As a whole, fire extinguishers are simple to use, just remember the acronym "PASS":

P - Pull the pin (this should be located near the squeeze trigger);
A - Aim the nozzle of the fire extinguisher for the base of the fire;
S - Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent;
S - Sweep the discharging agent side to side to cover as much ground as you can.

While fire extinguishers are readily available and simple to use most fires have to be extinguished within the first three minutes of its inception for a home or office to be saved as a fire will double in size every minute. In other words, if a fire starts it must be knocked down almost immediately. Furthermore the use of a fire extinguisher needs to be a part of sound decision making which includes alerting other personnel in the building of the fire, performing an evacuation, activating the fire alarm and notifying the local fire department.

If upon using a fire extinguisher you notice that the fire is going in size or has not been extinguished when the fire extinguisher is empty, drop the extinguisher and immediately exit the building. More than anything, you should be responsible for you safety and your life.

Just For You

Employees. The use of a fire extinguisher in the hands of a trained adult can be a life and property saving tool. Get more info here.

Park Leadership. Have employees? Learn about what your responsibility is regarding providing fire extinguisher training here.

Did you know that Fire Extinguisher Training is offered on DOIlearn? This training fulfills the OSHA requirement. You could make this a part of your employees annual training plan. Search for NPS-SFM2010_VER2 in DOI Learn. 

National/Regional Leadership. Having fire extinguishers that fail to perform may open park managers and management to potential law suits. In the case noted at the website provided one of the claims filed by the families who lost loved ones was directed at the hotel when it was found that one of the provided fire extinguishers failed to work. During this fire event four college students from the Mississippi University for Women died.

In another case the mother of a 22-month old who died in an apartment fire filed a lawsuit against the owners of the building, alleging they were negligent because they failed to provide adequate means to extinguish a fire in the building, failed to provide sufficient means of alerting people to the fire and failed to provide a safe way to escape from the second and third floors of the building in case of a fire (April 22, 2011: Lawyers and Settlements.com/fire lawsuits)

Prevention 52 begins with you!

Prevention 52 intends to educate and empower all NPS employees to help prevent structural fires.

Prevention 52 provides you with relevant fire prevention messages every week of the year - 52 to be exact.

You have the opportunity every week to make a difference. Don't let historic ashes become your legacy.