You first need to know whether you need an extinguisher for storing your paint, as not all paint is flammable. If you have shelves loaded with open tins of paint in your shed after you decorated your home, you could be okay. Over 80% of paint used at home is water-based, meaning it isn’t flammable. It’s worth checking your paint cans, as they will state if they’re solvent based, in which case, it could be worth getting an extinguisher.
However, paint used in an industrial or commercial setting is more likely to be flammable, and you will need to have an appropriate fire extinguisher.
Which Fire Extinguishers Can I Use?
Flammable paints will come under a Class B fire of flammable liquids, petrol and spirits. That means that either a foam or dry powder extinguisher can be used, as well as CO2 extinguishers. So it is important that you have a correct extinguisher close by to help stop a small fire getting out of control.
All extinguishers will state which fires they can be used on, so if you already have one, make sure it is appropriate.
When using spray paint, it is also advised to either have a dry powder or CO2 fire extinguisher at hand. Keep all possible sources of ignition away from the cans, and make sure the area is safe before using spray paint.
Storing and Using Flammable Paint
Like with any flammable liquid, you should keep the amount you store at one time to an absolute minimum. Consider only having enough for what you expect to use at one time, rather than having a bulk load. If it is unavoidable, there are other precautions you can take.
For example, you could use flammable storage cupboards made of steel. Their purpose is to keep fires away from the liquid contained in them for around 30 minutes. This gives you plenty of time to evacuate an area and to get the fire brigade there before the fire has a chance to further escalate.
If the paint you’re using is flammable, then it’s possible it also releases vapour that could harm your health, so you also need to make sure you take the necessary precautions when using the paint with a respirator or disposable mask.
Whatever your business is, if you’re using flammable paints, ensure everybody is being as safe as possible. Make sure to check you have the right equipment, and that it is also still in working order regularly.