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fire extinguisher

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I stopped by a restaurant on the way home to get dinner. I placed my "to go" order then left to run a quick errand. When I returned, the order was still not ready. The counter person greeted me then left to enter the kitchen. Some yelling in the kitchen ensued. Maybe the yelling is just how they communicated. I stood there and watied. With nothing to do, my eyes wandered. Behold: in the corner, on the floor, tucked behind a large planter is their fire extinguisher. The plant itself is not leafy and the fire extinguisher is easily accessible in between the four trunks of the plant.

When she came back with my order, I tried to tell her in a low voice that it's not good to have the fire extinguisher where it was, that it needed to be on the wall near the kitchen entrance, and that they might get ticketed if inspected. She didn't understand (they were of foreign descent). So we went the pointing route ... not that, not that, not the plant ... yes, the thing in the corner! Yeah, it should be here on the wall.

Ok, so maybe the issue is not that they might get ticketed; rather, it's that the fire extinguisher should be readily accessible. They're usually mounted on the wall both so that they can be seen and also so that things on the floor won't block their access.

Here is the actual NFPA wording:

The employer shall provide portable fire extinguishers and shall mount, locate
and identify them so that they are readily accessible to employees without
subjecting the employees to possible injury.

And here is the OSHA recommendation:
To prevent fire extinguishers from being moved or damaged, they should be
mounted on brackets or in wall cabinets with the carrying handle placed 3-1/2 to
5 feet above the floor. Larger fire extinguishers need to be mounted at lower
heights with the carrying handle about 3 feet from the floor.