Now that you have plenty of resources available to you to determine where Class D extinguishers and extinguishing agents are required, where to get specific information on combustible metals, and how to apply the agent, why not conduct live fire training sessions with your customer!
A Class D hand portable extinguisher is of little use if no one knows how to use it. You may have provided excellent maintenance on your customer’s equipment for years, but if they don’t know what to do with the equipment when it is needed, or use the equipment improperly, the excellent service is of little value and could even have serious consequences.
According to OSHA not only is Class D protection required (Target #7), but they also require employers to provide training. Therefore, any discussion that you have with your customer about their Class D hazard(s) is about the depth of training to be provided not IF they provide training!
Work with your customer to establish what they think is a likely fire scenario? What particular individuals are likely or required to respond? Can this scenario be duplicated safely and inexpensively? Is it worthwhile to actually burn some material? Is it better to run through the procedures and demonstrate how to discharge the unit and apply the agent properly? Don’t forget to train with personal protective gear.
Once these questions have been addressed, you will be well on your way to formulating a training program. Remember, if live fires are to be performed, safety must be foremost in your thoughts and actions. Make sure that there is plenty of ventilation. There must be no moisture present to contact the combustible material. Know exactly what kind of material you are dealing with (your customer should provide you with the agent they use and have on site, but make sure you know exactly what it is in order to have the right extinguishing agent!). You don’t need a big fire to get the point across and to teach proper application – keep it small.
Unlike other fire training sessions, i.e., with Class B hazards, you will only get one “burn” (you might consider video taping the training to make both further and future training easier). Therefore, the live fire portion is going to be more of a demonstration of proper procedures and application techniques than hands on for every employee. Because of the seriousness of these fires you might suggest that your customer contact both the local fire department and his insurance company. In the case of the fire department there are three advantages: they will fully realize the seriousness of Class D hazards, they will clearly see the value of the OSHA requirement regarding Class D protection, and they might feel the need to buy Class D fire extinguishers from you to carry on some of their vehicles!
While this has been a very detailed and wide-ranging Target 570 your customers will have better fire protection, better safety awareness, and more confidence. Aren’t these opportunities worth the extra effort?
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