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.