Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers

University laboratories using chemicals should have a fire extinguisher available for the types of fire hazards that may exist in the particular laboratory. The selection of the fire extinguisher for the given situation is determined by the character of the fire anticipated. In most WSU laboratories, a class BC or ABC rated (i.e., 2A 10BC), dry chemical fire extinguisher within 30 feet of any exit will be sufficient for small ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical fires. If pressurized water fire extinguishers are available, they are suitable only for use on ordinary combustible fires (i.e., paper, wood, etc.). Review SPPM 8.22 – Fire Extinguishers for descriptions of fire extinguisher ratings and other information on obtaining and using a fire extinguisher.

If a fire extinguisher is installed in the laboratory, ensure its location is identified on the Laboratory Floor Plan (see Section III.A: Floor Plan for Laboratory ). Access to fire extinguishers should be free of obstructions.

If the laboratory’s emergency plan (i.e., Standard Operating Procedures, Unit’s Emergency Plans, Accident Prevention Program, etc.) designate laboratory personnel to use fire extinguishers for small fires, make sure the proper extinguishers are available and all laboratory personnel are trained when first hired and annually thereafter. Trained personnel should know where the extinguishers are located, what types of fires they can be used for, how to operate them correctly, and the hazards involved with firefighting .

Even though a small fire can sometimes be extinguished with a fire extinguisher, attempt to put out such a fire only if you have been trained, are confident you can do so successfully and quickly, and are in a position in which you are always between the fire and an exit to avoid being trapped. Consult your laboratory standard operating procedures, Unit Emergency Response Plan, and Accident Prevention Program for additional information regarding fire emergencies.

If additional extinguishers are needed for a laboratory, or for fire related questions, contact the WSU Fire and Safety Compliance Officer (335-4310) or Facilities Operations, Life Safety Shop (335-9000) .