Is Fire Extinguisher Training Required? My Honest Take

Fire safety is an essential aspect of any workplace, more so in industrial settings where the risk of fire is higher. Every year, thousands of fires are reported at various workplaces, resulting in injuries, loss of property, and even death.

This is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set particular rules and regulations to ensure that businesses take fire safety seriously. One such vital regulation is fire extinguisher training.

So, is fire extinguisher training required?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore why OSHA mandates fire extinguisher training, the benefits of this training, and how to conduct it effectively.

Is fire extinguisher training required

Is fire extinguisher training required?

Fire extinguisher training requirements vary depending on the location and type of workplace. In many areas, employers are required to provide basic fire extinguisher safety training to employees whose duties may require them to use a fire extinguisher.

This brief training helps ensure employees know how to properly operate an extinguisher in the event of a small fire. However, in-depth certification is not usually mandated unless an employee’s primary job function involves fire protection.

The goal of training is to empower employees to respond appropriately during an emergency while avoiding unnecessary risk.

What is Fire Extinguisher Training?

Fire extinguisher training is the process of training employees to use fire extinguishers effectively in the event of a fire. This training is crucial to ensure everyone in the workplace can safely evacuate a building and deal with any potential source of fire.

The training aims to provide employees with the skills they need to protect themselves and others while minimizing property damage in the face of a fire emergency.

The Different Types of Fire Extinguishers and When to Use Each Type

There are several types of fire extinguishers, each designed to deal with specific types of fires. The following are the various types of fire extinguishers used and the class of fires they are best suited to:

Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
  • Class A fire extinguishers – best suited for fires fueled by ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, or cloth.
  • Class B fire extinguishers – used to extinguish fires that involves flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, or grease.
  • Class C fire extinguishers – designed to put out fires involving live electrical equipment like computers, appliances, and other such instruments.
  • Class D fire extinguishers – used to extinguish fires that involve combustible metals such as sodium, potassium, lithium, and magnesium.
  • Class K fire extinguishers – these are designed for commercial kitchens and effectively handle fires caused by oils, animal fats, and vegetable fats.

It is essential to note that using the wrong type of fire extinguisher can make a fire worse, and in some cases, it could cause an explosion. This is why staff must receive the appropriate training, so they know which types of extinguishers to use for a specific fire type.

The Legal Requirement for Fire Extinguisher Training

The primary goal of OSHA is to ensure that employers provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. The agency mandates that employers take reasonable measures to prevent fire emergencies and to train their workers on what to do if one should occur.

This is where fire extinguisher training comes in. The agency requires that employers train their workers on how to identify and use a fire extinguisher correctly.

The Legal Requirement for Fire Extinguisher Training

The stated regulation is OSHA 29 CFR 1910.157(g). According to this regulation, employers must provide “an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards associated with incipient-stage fire fighting.”

In addition to that, employers must determine how employees will be notified whenever there’s an actual fire outbreak, and the appropriate evacuation route to use.

Consequences of Not Complying with OSHA’s Fire Safety Regulations

Failure to comply with OSHA’s fire safety regulations may lead to penalties and citations. These citations carry financial fines that could run into thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the violation.

For instance, Willful violations, which are more serious and intentional, may result in fines significantly higher than those for other violations.

Additionally, non-compliance can lead to workplace accidents, and this can cause the business to lose its employees, customers, and overall reputation.

Benefits of Fire Extinguisher Training

The benefits of fire extinguisher training are far-reaching. Here are some reasons why businesses should provide this training to their employees:

Benefits of Fire Extinguisher Training
  1. Saving Lives – The primary objective of fire extinguisher training is to ensure that employees know how to identify and use fire extinguishers to prevent a fire emergency. A well-trained staff will be able to handle an inferno before it gets out of control, saving lives in the process.
  2. Minimizing Damage to Property – When a fire breaks out in the workplace, every second counts. A trained staff will be able to respond promptly and take the appropriate measures to minimize damages. This can save the business thousands of dollars and help ensure the continuation of the business.
  3. Compliance with Regulations – In addition to protecting lives and property, fire extinguisher training is also essential for compliance with OSHA regulations. Compliance with these regulations protects a business from potential citations and fines from the regulatory bodies.

How to Conduct Fire Extinguisher Training?

Conducting fire extinguisher training for employees is essential in any workplace. The following steps can help employers conduct effective and efficient fire extinguisher training for their workers:

How to Conduct Fire Extinguisher Training

Assess the Workplace – The first step towards conducting fire extinguisher training is to assess the workplace’s risks and hazard potential. By identifying these hazards, it becomes easier to develop an appropriate training program to manage fire safety.

Choose the Appropriate Type of Fire Extinguisher Training – There are different types of fire extinguisher training programs tailored to specific situations, such as hands-on training, web-based training, or video-based training. A business can choose the type of training that’s best suited for its employees, based on the specific job functions, and work environment.

Train the Employees – Once the right training program has been set, it’s essential to train employees on the appropriate use of fire extinguishers. This training should focus on the type of fire extinguishers used in the workplace, how to use the extinguishers, and the appropriate response to a fire emergency.

Evaluate the Training Outcome – The final step in conducting fire extinguisher training is to evaluate the program’s efficacy. This can be done by testing employees on their knowledge of fire safety procedures, hands-on demonstrations, or through drills to test the proficiency of employees in handling emergency situations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best type of fire extinguisher for my workplace?

The answer will depend on the type of fire risks common in a particular workplace. It is recommended you seek medical help to evaluate the fire risks, the most appropriate fire extinguishers needed, and how best to protect the employees.

How often should fire extinguisher training be conducted?

The frequency of training will depend on the level of exposure to fire risks in the workplace. However, training should be done at least once a year, regularly every six months, or anytime there is a significant change in the workplace.

What are the consequences of not having fire extinguisher training?

Failure to comply with OSHA regulations may lead to a citation or financial penalties. Non-compliance can also lead to workplace accidents leading to liability issues, loss of employees, and damage to the business reputation.

Can I conduct fire extinguisher training myself or do I need to hire a professional?

There is no stipulated requirement by OSHA that fire extinguisher training has to be conducted by a professional. However, it is recommended to engage an expert to conduct the training as they have the experience and skills to properly conduct the training and evaluate the employee’s proficiency.


In conclusion, fire extinguisher training is a requirement set by OSHA for businesses to ensure the safety of their workplaces. By implementing this training for employees, businesses can protect their employees, save lives, minimize property damage, and avoid penalties for non-compliance with the regulations.

With the tips provided in this guide, businesses can conduct effective fire extinguisher training and prepare their employees for potential fire emergencies. Remember – be safe, be prepared, and protect your workplace from the risks of fire.

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