Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Are employees expected to use a fire extinguisher?

In general, there is no employer expectation for employees to attempt to extinguish a fire or otherwise stay in their workplace for any reason upon being notified of a fire emergency. Specific employees may be required, however, to maintain critical equipment or services or to arrange for the orderly shutdown of hazardous processes; such a requirement should be written into the employee’s job description and included in your department’s EAP.

Certain employees, however, may need to be trained to use fire extinguishers based on their job duties or work location. Persons who oversee hot work operations (welding, cutting or brazing), who work in fuel dispensing areas, or where there are unusual fire hazards, for example, would fall in this category.