October 14, 2019

George W. Manby Died in 1854. Here’s How He Will Save a Life at Your Glass Company!

By Paul Bieber

Who the heck is Mr. Manby? He was a British citizen who invented the fire extinguisher over 200 years ago. Thanks, George. Let’s jump to today and your glass company or your home should have fire extinguishers. It is usually law in every business and just plain smart at home. Additionally, your insurance carrier will look for extinguishers in their annual walk-through. You should also have an extinguisher on each truck.

You are at work and suddenly you smell smoke or someone yells, “FIRE!” Do your employees know what to do? The unquestioned, number one response is to call 911 and evacuate the building. You should have a safety escape plan for every part of your building, with a map of your facility showing the ways to an escape door. During practices, walk through this door with every employee. Every employee should know where to go outside so you can do a headcount to see if anyone may still be in the building. Assign department heads to do this count as they should know who is off work on any given day.

There is a second option that should only be used by someone trained on how to use a fire extinguisher at the point of the fire. You should hold a class annually for the people at your business to learn or practice their skill using an extinguisher. You should have multiple trained people covering each area of your business and for each shift of work. Your town or city probably has a fire code requiring you to have extinguishers in place. But, if you don’t train new folks or practice with your current team, all the extinguishers become is a pretty piece of red metal on a doorpost.

There are many types of fires and appropriate extinguishers. Forget about this. Have ABC Dry Powder extinguishers on your walls as they will cover 99% of the fires at a glass company or a home. Extinguishers come in many sizes, weighing from 5 to 20 pounds. Make sure the people you train can lift and handle this weight.

NEVER use an extinguisher unless you have a clear exit at your back. The word “PASS” describes the best way to use an extinguisher:

P—Pull the pin with the nozzle pointing away from you; then release the trigger lock.

A—Aim the nozzle low at the base of the fire.

S—Squeeze the release lever slowly and evenly.

S—Sweep from side to side.

Ask your local fire department to come to your company and do training with extinguishers. Your extinguisher vendor should be there as well and will be qualified to do the training if the fire department can’t make it. Don’t forget to inspect your fire extinguishers yearly and have extinguishers over five years old recharged by your vendor.

If you have a dedicated computer room or an area with a large amount of electronics, consult with a pro for the proper type of overhead sprinklers or hand-held extinguishers.