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Fire Prevention / Fire Extinguisher

Safety Office


Preventing fires is everyone’s job. We all need to be alert to anything that could cause a fire, and take responsibility to report any problem areas so they can be corrected. Here are some reminders about fire prevention: Report problems through the safety hazard alert report.

  1. Practice good workplace housekeeping. Clutter contributes to fires by providing fuel and by preventing access to exits and emergency equipment.
  2. Place oily rags in a covered metal container. This waste must be properly disposed of on a regular basis.
  3. Maintain machinery to prevent overheating and friction sparks.
  4. Report electrical hazards. Many fires start in faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment. Never attempt electrical repairs unless you are qualified and authorized.
  5. Maintain free access to all electrical control panels. Material or equipment stored in front of the panels would slow down the shutting down of power in an emergency situation.
  6. Use and store chemicals safely. Read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet to determine flammability and other fire hazards. Provide adequate ventilation when using and storing these substances.
  7. Use all precautions to prevent ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or fine particles. Use nonsparking tools, and control static electricity as required.
  8. Help maintain building security to prevent arson fires. Lock up as instructed; report suspicious persons; and don’t leave combustible rubbish where it can be set afire outside the building.
  9. Smoking is prohibited at U of W property. 
  10. Never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment or emergency exits. Observe clearances when stacking materials.
  11. Post emergency telephone numbers as well as the company address by the telephone in your station/desk for quick access (also in case of power outage) if a fire were to start in your work area.
  12. Learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Fire Extinguishers:

Location of Fire Extinguishers and Pull Stations:

  • Managers/supervisors - ensure your staff know the location of the fire extinguishers and pull stations in their work area(s).

Portable Fire Extinguishers:

  • Ensure access to extinguishers (and fire alarm systems) are not blocked and a clear path to the extinguishers
  • The pressure gauge should be in the green zone. If the needle is not in green zone, the extinguisher requires professional maintenance. Report through the safety hazard alert report.
  • Verify the locking pins are intact and the tamper seals are not broken
  • Visually inspect the hoses and nozzles to ensure they are in good condition and show no signs of cracking or dry rot.
  • Report concerns regarding the fire extinguishers located in your work area through the safety hazard alert report.

Using a Portable Fire Extinguisher:

Portable Fire Extinguishers can be a useful tool to save lives and property damage from fire. But before you choose to use a fire extinguisher, you must ensure the following:

  • Activate the pull station
  • Evacuate the building
    • Managers/Supervisors should ensure a department/area specific evacuation plan is developed, posted, and shared with the staff
    • Emergency Response – click here
  • The fire is very small and NOT out of control
  • You are confident and TRAINED to use a fire extinguisher
  • Know the type of fire and you have the right type of fire extinguisher
    • At University of Winnipeg, almost in all cases, the type of fire extinguisher installed are the ABC Fire Extinguisher which can extinguish the following:
      • Combustibles (Wood, Clothing, Paper, etc)
      • Flammable and Combustible Liquids
      • Electrical
    • Others: Type D for metals – may be used Labs; Type K – Commercial Kitchens
    • Your back is that the exit for a quick escape in case the fire spreads
    • When in doubt – GET OUT!

How to Use a Portable Extinguisher:

When using a fire extinguisher, you should remember the acronym, P.A.S.S. - Video

  • P – Pull the pin on the extinguisher. (Suggestion: twisting and then pulling the pin for easy removal)
  • A – Aim at the base of the fire.
  • S – Squeeze the nozzle to expel the extinguishing agent. Do not stop until all contents have been expelled.
  • S – Sweep back and forth at the base of the fire

Do not turn your back from the fire. Wait for 30 seconds (if safe to do so) to ensure you have put out the fire. If not done the first time, evacuate the building. Report to the Fire Marshall and/or Engineer regarding your attempt to extinguish the fire and the outcome of your attempt.

Building Re-Entry

Do not return to the building until safe to do so as per direction from the authorities - click here.

Fire Emergency Procedures Click here.

For more fire safety tips at home and in the workplace, click here.

Any questions, please call:
Safety Office – 204.786.9894