In compliance to AS 2444 and AS 1851.1, portable fire extinguishers should be installed and maintained. The Standard sets out criteria in selecting portable fire extinguishers and their specific requirements like location, type, application, and distribution. There has to be at least two 3.5kg extinguishers and must be suitable for use against Class A, E and F fires.
Installation and Maintenance
Specific rules are set out for installing and maintaining fire equipment, wherein educators can refer to in the Work, Health, and Safety legislation. Such fire safety requirements include the following:
Placement of Equipment
Portable fire extinguishers function as handy firefighting equipment that are meant to be accessible. These shall be installed in hallways and near technical facilities where they are easily located. The placement of fire extinguishers in child care centres should be within a distance of 22m. This means extinguishers may be reachable a few steps outside a room or next to stairwell doors.
Clearance for Installing the Portable Fire Extinguisher
When installing fire extinguishers, ensure that the distance is about 1.2m from the top of the extinguisher to the floor. As for carbon dioxide extinguishers, these may be placed lower with a maximum of 150mm from the base of the equipment to the floor.
Routine Servicing Requirements
A fire extinguisher requires servicing of at least twice annually or every six months for efficiency. In order to keep track of the inspections, a tag is attached to each extinguisher for reference.
How to Use a Portable Fire Extinguisher
To abide by the rules, only persons with proper training can use a fire extinguisher. Directions are most likely printed on the extinguisher, but you can call a qualified fire technician to teach you comprehensively how to use one. To start with the basics, you can always refer to the acronym PASS:
P – Pull the pin used to lock the handles.
A – Aim at the base of the fire. It is where the fuel source is located.
S – Squeeze the handle to discharge the agent.
S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side to completely extinguish the fire.
The best way to accomplish maximum fire safety practices is adhering to Australian Standards. Therefore, anything involving your portable fire extinguisher—purchasing, installing and maintaining—must comply with the legal requirements to keep your child care centre safe.