Portable fire extinguishers are an important part of the total fire protection plan for a building and should be installed in addition to other fire protection features. Extinguishers are a quick response device designed to control fires in their beginning stages. When properly used by trained persons the correct type of extinguisher is capable of handling a variety of types of fires. The effectiveness of extinguishers also depends on the proper spacing and placement of them in relation to the hazard they are protecting. The following policy is designed to outline the minimum requirements of the Vacaville Fire District for the use of portable fire extinguishers.
California Fire Code Article 10, Section 1002.1 states that portable fire extinguishers shall be installed in occupancies and locations as set forth in this code and as required by the Chief.
California Fire Code Article 10, Section 1001.9 states that the Chief is authorized to require additional safeguards where special hazards exist.
The California Fire Code, Title 19 CCR, CFC Standards 10 1 and NFC 10 may be utilized by the Chief.
LOCATION AND SPACING REQUIREMENTS
The number of fire extinguishers needed to protect a property shall be a minimum of one 2 A:10 BC per every 1500 square feet in all occupancies. Warehouse occupancies may use one 4 A:60 BC extinguisher per every 3000 square feet. In addition, travel distances from any point in a building to an extinguisher should be considered. As a general rule this maximum travel distance should not exceed 75 feet. When the protected hazard involves flammable liquids, the distance may be reduced to 50 or 30 feet, depending on the capacity of the extinguisher.
Special hazard situations, location and spacing requirements for special hazard situations shall be determined by the Chief.
Newly constructed apartment buildings that have upstairs units with a common landing shall have at least one 2 A:10 BC extinguisher for each floor level. Multiple occupancies served by a common corridor such as a doctor's office complex having access to a "community fire extinguisher" need not have an extinguisher in each office as long as square footage and travel distance requirements are met.
All extinguishers shall be U.L. listed and approved by the California State Fire Marshal. All extinguishers shall be inspected annually by a concern licensed by the State Fire Marshal. Extinguishers shall be conspicuously located, readily available, and plainly marked. The extinguisher should be mounted in a bracket with the top not higher than 5 feet from the floor. When approved by the inspector, extinguishers need not be readily visible provided adequate visible directional signs are installed indicating the location of the extinguisher, (i.e., inside a closet, with a sign on the door stating "FIRE EXTINGUISHER").
Revised Fire Captain Tim Walton, June 12, 2001