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Fire Safety Tips

From sawdust to paint thinner, workshops are filled with fire hazards. Keep these fire safety tips in mind to avoid workshop fires.

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keep a charged fire extinguisher in workshop

It's a good idea to have a charged fire extinguisher in an easily accessible part of the workshop. Keep in mind the following safety tips too — so the extinguisher will never have to be used.

  • Dispose of sawdust at least once a day. It's important to keep the shavings in an airtight container because they're extremely flammable.

  • Rinse and hang rags outside to dry after using them to apply solvents, finishes and other chemicals. Materials soaked with such chemicals may spontaneously combust if piled together.

  • Store volatile chemicals — such as paint thinner — in a fireproof locked metal cabinet.

  • When working with a torch, place a metal plate at least 1/8 inch thick between the torch and any combustible surface.

  • Place fire extinguishers at every exit. Fire extinguishers come in different kinds, each of which is able to extinguish specific kinds of fires. Type A fires involve natural combustibles such as wood, trash and paper. Type B fires involve liquids or grease. Type C fires are electrical fires. The sticker on an extinguisher indicates whether it can handle one, two or all three kinds of fires.

To put out a fire, remember the acronym PASS:
Pull: Pull the pin to unlock the extinguisher's operating lever.
Aim: Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze: Squeeze the extinguisher's trigger.
Sweep: Sweep the extinguisher from side to side, across the base of the fire.

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