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Fire Suppression

Texas State University uses various types of fire suppression equipment including portable fire extinguishers, sprinklers, clean systems, carbon dioxide systems, and fire hose/standpipe systems. The following sections discuss each type of fire suppression equipment.

Fire Extinguishers
Fires are classified according to three basic categories. Each type of fire requires special treatment to control and extinguish it. Therefore, all fire extinguishers are clearly marked to indicate the fire classes for which they are designed.

Fires are classified as indicated below.

Class A
Fires involving ordinary combustibles such as wood, textiles, paper, rubber, cloth, and trash. The extinguishing agent for a Class A fire must be cool. Water and multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguishers are ideal for use on these types of fires.

Class B
Fires involving flammable or combustible liquids or gases such as solvents, gasoline, paint, lacquer, and oil. The extinguishing agent for a Class B fire must remove oxygen or stop the chemical reaction. Carbon dioxide, multi-purpose dry chemical and halon fire extinguishers are ideal for use on these types of fires.

Class C
Fires involving energized electrical equipment or appliances. The extinguishing agent for a Class C fire must be a no conducting agent. Carbon dioxide, multi-purpose dry chemical, and halon fire extinguishers are ideal for use on these types of fires. Never use a water fire extinguisher on a Class C fire.

Fit the Fire

Inspection, Testing, and Recharging

EHSRM inspects and tests fire extinguishers regularly, removing extinguishers that must be recharged. To move a fire extinguisher to a new location or report a missing or damaged fire extinguisher, call the EHSRM- 5-3616.


Using Fire Extinguishers

Most fire extinguishers provide operating instructions on their label; however, the time to learn about fire extinguishers is not during a fire. The sooner you know how to use a fire extinguisher, the better prepared you are.

Portable fire extinguishers are located throughout all University facilities. They are mounted in readily accessible locations such as hallways, near exit doors, and areas containing fire hazards. Make sure that fire extinguishers are accessible and securely mounted.

EHSRM provides fire extinguisher classes. When using a fire extinguisher to fight or control a fire, aim the spray at the base of the fire. Because most extinguishers only work for a short time, employ a sweeping motion and work quickly to control the fire.

Do not attempt to fight a fire unless it is small and controllable. Use good judgment to determine your capability to fight a fire. When fighting a fire, always maintain an escape route. Never allow a fire to block your egress.

Sprinkler Systems

Water Sprinkler Systems

The purpose of water sprinkler systems is to help extinguish and minimize the spread of fires. Sprinklers are normally activated only by heat. To ensure that sprinklers are effective in the event of a fire, maintain at least 18 inches of clearance between any equipment or storage items and the ceiling. (Anything close to the ceiling can defeat the sprinkler system.) Never hang anything from a sprinkler head. Arrange work areas to facilitate sprinklers and allow even water distribution.

Clean Agent and Carbon Dioxide Systems

Special work areas, such as computer rooms and chemical storage rooms, may contain specialized fire suppression systems. For example, many computer rooms contain clean agent systems and many chemical storage rooms contain carbon dioxide systems. Areas with special fire suppression systems will be clearly identified on the room door.

People who work in these areas must do the following:

  • Keep all room doors and windows closed.
  • Know how the fire suppression system works (i.e., operation, abort switch, etc.).
  • Do not tamper with ceiling tiles.

If you have any questions about supplemental fire suppression systems, please contact the Facilities - Tech. Services.

Standpipe Systems

Fire hose cabinets are located in several buildings near the exit stairwells and in corridors. Standpipe systems are only used by trained fire fighters.


May 2011
Revised November 2014