(3.5-min read)

Disclaimer: This blog article is not meant to replace proper OSHA fire fighting protocol. 

You likely ran through a checklist before you headed out to the construction site.

  • Tools? Check.
  • Building materials? Check.
  • Lunch box? Check.
  • Fire extinguisher? Wait, what?

The need for fire extinguishers on construction sites may seem odd, but few places are in greater need of such life-saving devices. While fully developed buildings typically have the required fire-defense precautions in place (sprinklers, accessibility to exits, closed fire hazards, etc.), construction sites often do not. Electrical wiring may remain wholly exposed. Combustible materials may not be adequately covered. Any number of incidents can occur on a job site, and a construction site can make matters even trickier for fire rescue first responders. This is why the proper fire extinguisher protocol is an absolute must.

If you’re familiar with OSHA safety requirements, you may know that you need to have a fire extinguisher on your construction site. What you may not know are the requirements of such an extinguisher or other fire fighting equipment. Because we’re such swell people, here are a few summaries and exact quotes from OSHA’s regulations concerning fire extinguishers and other fire fighting measures.

  1. A fire extinguisher or equivalent fire-fighting equipment must be readily available and in plain sight.
  1. “A fire extinguisher, rated not less than 2A, shall be provided for each 3,000 square feet of the protected building area, or major fraction thereof. Travel distance from any point of the protected area to the nearest fire extinguisher shall not exceed 100 feet.”
  1. “One 55-gallon open drum of water with two fire pails may be substituted for a fire extinguisher having a 2A rating.”
  1. “A 1/2-inch diameter garden-type hose line, not to exceed 100 feet in length and equipped with a nozzle, may be substituted for a 2A-rated fire extinguisher, providing it is capable of discharging a minimum of 5 gallons per minute with a minimum hose stream range of 30 feet horizontally. The garden-type hose lines shall be mounted on conventional racks or reels. The number and location of hose racks or reels shall be such that at least one hose stream can be applied to all points in the area.”
  1. A water source with at least a 1.5-inch fire hose that is able to push through 25 gallons or more per minute can substitute for a fire extinguisher.
  1. All fire extinguishers need to be in peak working order. Make sure they are inspected regularly according to a particular schedule.
  1. Your entire crew should be well educated on the proper methods of evacuation in the event of a fire.
  1. At least one worker per shift must have past fire extinguisher training. They should also be trained on how to use a variety of fire-fighting methods. If your crew needs help obtaining this training, a local fire department should be able to facilitate the appropriate training.

For a full list of fire safety protocols, consult OSHA’s Fire Protection and Prevention Manual here.


For all of your commercial construction need in the Greater Tulsa Area, feel free to reach out to your friends at Cowen Construction.