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Can you use a fire extinguisher without training?

Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is a life-saving skill, but what are the rules around formal training? Can you use a fire extinguisher without training?

What does the law say?

The law is clear on training – designated employees with responsibility for fire safety must be given the right training. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that employers (or another responsible person) must:

  • take measures for fire-fighting in the premises
  • nominate a competent person to implement those measures
  • ensure there are enough people to cover the job
  • provide them with adequate training and equipment

This last point makes it plain that training is essential for a person to be deemed competent enough to implement fire-fighting measures.

Why is training important?

Fire extinguisher training is not just a tick-box exercise. Faced with a fire, first-responders need to be able to act swiftly and confidently to protect lives. This can only come from practice, which is why training courses include hands-on experience of using a fire extinguisher in a controlled environment.

It’s not always safe to use a fire extinguisher, and using the wrong type of extinguisher could be dangerous, so it’s vital that those responsible know when and how to use fire-fighting equipment. Without training, a small mistake could have life-changing consequences for the people involved.

What’s included in the training? 

Fire extinguisher training typically introduces delegates to the basics of fire safety, the different types of fire-fighting equipment, and how to use them.

Vital Fire’s fire extinguisher training course is delivered by experienced fire service personnel and is a combination of classroom-based learning and practical experience using a controlled gas fire. By the end, delegates will be able to:

  • identify the right extinguisher for the type of fire
  • explain how different fire extinguishers work
  • use various types of fire extinguishers
  • tackle small fires with confidence

This course is also available online for those who prefer distance learning. While we can’t be hands-on, there is a lot of interactivity involved to check to understand.

Who should do the training?

The ‘responsible person’ for fire safety is usually the business owner, landlord, or someone with control over the premises, such as a facilities manager. It is their duty to ensure that the people using the building are adequately trained.

Typically, businesses assign a fire marshall, who is fully trained in all areas, but to be effective, more than one person needs to know how to use a fire extinguisher. In larger organisations, you’ll need to cover multiple shifts and account for absences.

This is particularly important in businesses at greater risk of fire, such as industrial settings, where there are lots of extinguishers for different types of fire.

How can I book training?

Vital Fire Solutions offers fire extinguisher training at a competitive price. A worthwhile investment when you consider that in the majority of cases, fire-fighting equipment used correctly can protect not just your property, but the people in it. Contact us to book fire extinguisher training for your team.