HCL Staff Receive Fire Extinguisher Training

fire extinguisher training

Jill Hiller, Library Assistant in Widener Library, uses a fire extinguisher to put out a controlled fire as part of Harvard
College Library's annual fire extinguisher training. More than a
dozen staff members attended the training, held April 23.

April 27, 2009 - More than a dozen Harvard College Library staff members gathered outside the West Entrance of Lamont Library on April 23 for a training session on how - and when - library staff should use fire extinguishers.

Led by Mark Collins, Life Safety Officer at Harvard University Operations Services, the training sessions are held annually to ensure that, should a fire break out in the library, safety procedures designed to protect the safety of library staff and collections are followed.

In addition to using fire extinguishers to practice putting out controlled fires, staff members reviewed the types of fire extinguishers should be used on, when to use extinguishers and how to avoid injuries in case of a fire. If they do have to use an extinguisher, Collins said, staff should remember P.A.S.S:

  • Pull the pin or ring;
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire from about eight feet away;
  • Squeeze the handle;
  • Sweep the nozzle slowly from side to side.

"These extinguishers are good for a small paper fire, or maybe a small electrical fire," Collins said. "If the fire is bigger than that, it's too dangerous to try to put it out."

Extinguishers should only be used on the smallest fires, Collins said. In the case of larger fires, staff members should try to close off the area where a fire is burning, activate the nearest fire alarm and evacuate the building. Additional information for staff is available on the HCL Intranet.