In less than 30 seconds a small fire can turn into a major flame. Yet, the average response time for a fire department in the United States is 5 minutes, 20 seconds. Educate your employees on emergency fire response, especially during the "Incipient Stage," or initial stage of a fire. Share the article below and distribute the handout to prepare your employees on how to react to a fire and use a fire extinguisher. Printable Employee Handout
What is the Incipient Stage?
The incipient stage is the beginning of a fire that can be extinguished or controlled by portable firefighting equipment. An incipient fire can be defined by the following factors:
- Flames that are small and not widespread
- Smoke that allows for visibility in the room
- The heat emitted from the flame is low
Emergency Fire Response Procedure during Incipient Stage
Follow the below procedure when a fire is found only in the incipient stage. Once the fire progresses to the "Growth Stage" where the structure of the building can become affected the procedure does not pertain.
- Sound the fire alarm and call the fire department, if appropriate.
- Identify a safe evacuation path before approaching the fire. Do not allow the fire, heat, or smoke to come between you and your evacuation path.
- Select the appropriate type of fire extinguisher.
- Discharge the extinguisher within its effective range using the P.A.S.S. technique [See Below]
- Watch the area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat steps 2 - 4.
- Back away from an extinguished fire in case, it flames up again.
- Evacuate immediately if the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out.
- Evacuate immediately if the fire progresses beyond the incipient stage.
The P.A.S.S. Fire Extinguisher Technique
- PULL... Pull the pin. This will also break the tamper seal.
- AIM... Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire. [NOTE: Do not touch the plastic discharge horn on CO2 extinguishers, it gets very cold and may damage the skin.]
- SQUEEZE... Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- SWEEP... Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out.
*At Friedlander, we care about the health and safety of employees first and foremost. The primary concerns should be sounding an alarm and evacuating the building but using a fire extinguisher in extreme emergencies.