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Sep 20, 2021

Hello All! Welcome to episode 17 of Fire Code Tech. In this episode we are discussing all things fire extinguishers. We take a deep dive into applicable codes/standards, fire extinguisher types and much more.  Don't forget if you want to here more episodes like this go check out



Hello. Welcome to the solo cast of fire code tech in these episodes. It's just gonna be me, your host, Gus Gagliardi. There's gonna be a range of topics, but I'm gonna talk about specific technologies, installation, standards, codes, and how they work as well as some other interesting topics that don't neatly fit inside of the context of a normal interview.

Hello, all welcome to episode 17 of fire code. In this episode, we're talking about fire extinguishers. So this is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get about fire protection is how to install and determine when fire extinguishers are needed. So fire extinguishers is a very common topic.

I don't think it's, uh, extremely hard to grasp. The basics of fire extinguishers, but the problem is that they're so commonplace and, uh, generally applied that I don't think much scrutiny is given to them. Very frequent. So in this episode, we look to talk about the codes and standards, the application of fire extinguishers, the different types of fire extinguishers, and just a basic general overview on fire extinguishers.

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There are, by the time this episode airs a total of 17 solo cast episodes, ready to listen to for a very low price. Let's dive into the show. So the first thing I want to talk about pertaining to fire extinguishers is the codes and standards around fire extinguishers. As always, I'll be speaking in reference to the codes and standards process in the United States.

So we'll be looking at the international building code for the application of fire extinguishers. So the two major codes that we're going to look at when determin. The application and specification of fire extinguishers are the international building code in the international fire code. The chapter in the building code that talks about fire extinguishers is section 9 0 6, portable fire extinguishers.

So the insulation standard for fire extinguishers is N F P 10. This standard is called the standard for portable fire extinguishers. So in true fire code tech fashion, let's talk about how we know when we need fire extinguishers. So there are two situations in which we need could need fire extinguishers.

There are general purpose, fire, extinguishers, and specific hazard or specific application fire extinguishers. So the building code starts off in section 9 0 6 with a list of. Uh, different situations in which you would need general purpose fire extinguishers. Let's take a look at some of the different situations in which you would need general purpose fire extinguishers, section 9 0 6 0.1, where required portable fire extinguishers shall be installed in all of the following locations.

Okay. Here's the big requirement that basically encapsulates almost every occupancy located in the building code. This is the first in a six item list. In group a, B E F H I M R one R two R four and S occupancies. So if you can't tell that's pretty much all of them. Uh, and then it has an exception that says in group R two occupancies portable fire extinguishers shall be required only in locations specified in items two through six, where each dwelling unit is provided with a portable fire extinguisher, having a minimum writing.

One a 10, B, C. So we'll talk about those ratings a little bit later, but, um, just understand for now that that is a capacity rating for fire extinguishers. So this first section in 9 0 6. Basically is an umbrella statement for all of these occupancies that they do in fact, need general purpose fire extinguishers.

So this is the requirement that basically requires your standard type a B and C fire extinguishers throughout a building. So I guess we should get into the types of fire extinguishers before I get too much further. I don't think I can keep referencing these different types of fire extinguishers without laying the foundation.

But before we move on, so the, the synopsis of this topic is when do we need fire extinguishers? We need fire extinguishers when section 9 0 6 0.1 of the building code tells us we need them. And then there's a list of six different, uh, instances in which you need a general purpose in specific hazard fire extinguishers in those.

Um, instances. So I guess we should discuss what is a fire extinguisher before I tell you what the types are. So let's look in N F P 10, section 3.4 0.3 in the 2018 edition. And this is the definition of portable fire extinguisher. A portable device carried or on wheels and operated by hand containing an extinguishing agent that can be expelled under pressure for the purpose of suppressing or extinguishing a fire.

So for the layman or for just somebody who wanted to know the formal definition, that's what a fire extinguisher is. Now. There are a variety of. Different types of fire extinguisher. And basically these types are catering to the different, um, fire that we're looking at. So when we are, uh, designing fire extinguishers, we are putting the proper suppressing agent with the, you know, combustible that we are trying to extinguish.

So it's think of it similar to, um, determining the hazard. Um, you need to understand what you're trying to put out and the goal for protection of property and life, um, in order to apply the, the right type of fire extinguisher. So let's talk about types of fire extinguisher and types of. Um, suppressing agent.

So the way the fire extinguishers are classified is by the type of fire they're looking to extinguish. So if we take a look at 5.2 in an FPA 10, 2018 edition, we can see information about the classification of fires. So we have class a, B, C, D, N K, fire. So class a is your general ordinary combustible, such as wood cloth, paper, rubber and mini plastics class BFIs are combustible liquids.

And think of these as petrochemical pro products. So petroleum greases, tars oils, um, paints, solvents, slackers. And so tech type C are fires that involve, uh, energized electrical equipment. So anytime where you're going to be using an extinguisher on, uh, on or around electrical equipment that is energized, uh, you'll need a type C um, fire extinguisher.

and so D and K are the last two types of, of fires. And these are a little bit more special case. So generally, uh, for general purpose fire extinguishers, we have, um, a combination of a, B and C fire extinguishers, or ABC fire extinguishers. And then. Class D and K fires have specific fire extinguishers with a different variety of, uh, suppressing agent.

So class D fires are combustible metals, such as magnesium titaniums or conium sodium, lithium and potassium. So if you don't know. They're with metal fires, you know, oftentimes, um, water and other common suppressing agents that work on, uh, more standard combustibles like wood and natural materials don't work on metal fires.

So, uh, this is why we have class D fire extinguishers to utilize some different suppressing suppressing mechanisms in order to, um, extinguish these fires. and then type K are, um, fires in cooking appliances for think of these as deep fat Frys or, uh, kitchens like commercial ranges and, um, just fires with, uh, involve, uh, it says class K fires are fires and cooking appliances that involve, uh, combustible cooking media, a vegetable or animal oils and fats.

So. There are, we'll talk about the specific application of, um, class D and, and K fires, but, uh, this is a big overview of the types of fire extinguishers. Okay. So just as a quick recap, the types of fire extinguishers are, uh, correspond to the types of different fires. So. there are class a, B, C, D, and K fires.

And so general purpose fire extinguishers are type a, B and C, and there are specific application fire extinguishers for class D and K fires. So those are metal fires and, um, deep fat fry. Uh, or just any cooking appliance with that utilizes, uh, the significant source of animal fat or oil. So let's go back to, uh, IBC 9 0 6 0.1, where we were talking about the general purpose and specific hazard fire extinguish.

So we talked about the first, uh, item on the list, which. Basically requires general purpose fire extinguishers for, um, most occupancies, but, uh, does not require 'em for our three occupancies and some are two occupancies. . And then we look at the second provision of this section and it talks about, says within 30 feet of commercial cooking equipment.

So this is that class K fire extinguisher we're talking about. So where you have commercial cooking equipment and there's gonna be a significant source of oils and fats and, you know, kind of, uh, high heat environment. Uh, you want to have, you are code required to have. A fire extinguisher within 30 feet of that area.

And so the third list on the item, I mean the third item on the list is, um, in areas where flammable or combustible liquids are stored, used or dispensed. So, uh, this could be those flammable combustible, liquid cabinets. This could be. Uh, you know, like, uh, the flammable combustible liquids are a pretty, that's a pretty wide umbrella.

I mean, this could be anything from greases or lubricants to paints and thinners. So ERs. I mean, uh, solvents, like, uh, think about where you're storing a hand sanitizer, you know, in the pandemic. So there's a huge variety of different flam boy combustible liquids that could be considered in this item on the list.

And then the fourth item on the list is on each floor structure under construction, except group R three occupancies in accordance with. 33, 15 0.1 of the international fire code. So this has to do with fire extinguishers for buildings under construction. So there's a whole NFPA for that. I'll look it up in a second, but can't remember it off the top of my head.

And then, so the fifth item on the list is where required by the international fire coach sections in table 9 0 6 point. so here in this table is a whole list of additional hazardous locations, which would require a fire extinguisher to be located in the room where this hazard is present. So think of the first couple provisions as, um, the first one is general purpose.

The second one, the second through the, you know, uh, other than four second through six. Uh, specific application, fire extinguisher, hazard provisions. So, um, let's give an example of a couple. So industrial ovens, um, combustible fibers, solvent, distillation units, uh, bulk plants and terminals for flamboyant combustibles LP gas, liquid petroleum gas.

Aircraft towing vehicles, welding apparatus, and Aircrafts. So these are just, um, hazardous operations in specific that require a fire extinguisher. So, um, number five is just linking to this table, which provides, um, I don't know, 30 or 40 different areas that require a fire extinguish. . And so number six, which is the last item on this list in the international building code, which talks about where required, where fire extinguishers are required.

Um, a, a lot of people are all, I will say that oftentimes fire extinguishers are just kind of, uh, put everywhere, but, um, fire extinguishers, Although I'm an advocate of fire extinguishers. Um, I'm not an advocate of putting fire line safety systems where, uh, there are, uh, not requirements for 'em. I believe.

There are requirements for a good reason, and we don't want to, um, not understand the application of these fire extinguishers, this application, uh, fire and life safety systems really just brings the whole trade down. So we wanna understand when we. Are applying a system and why it's required, especially cuz I've talked about before, uh, when conversation of VE comes up, which it frequently does you wanna be able to list out the criteria and uh, be extremely aware of why and when this system is required, that's it for this episode of fire code tech.

Thank you all so much for listen. We'll see you next time. Thanks for listening everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation.

Be sure to contact a licensed professional. If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life safety. Thanks again. And we'll see you next time.