Fire extinguisher training available to Homewood employees

Traditionally, the university has not permitted Homewood affiliates to use the fire extinguishers in campus buildings—they are provided for the fire department, not for students, faculty, or staff. Training is required to use extinguishers appropriately, effectively, and without endangering self and others. The policy continues that untrained personnel are not to use fire extinguishers under any circumstances.

The JHU Department of Health, Safety, and Environment is now able to offer voluntary training in the use of fire extinguishers on typical office-type fires, such as those involving paper products or electrical equipment like toaster ovens. This training has two components: one online through myLearning and one live with HSE personnel. Both components are required for permission to use extinguishers, and recertification is required annually. These are legal requirements and are not negotiable.

Training to use fire extinguishers is completely voluntary, and JHU affiliates are encouraged in most instances to evacuate upon encountering a fire rather than attempt to respond. Training is available only to employee affiliates, that is, those receiving a paycheck from the university. Undergraduate students are not to attempt to use an extinguisher under ANY circumstances.

Training will be for "incipient" fires only, that is, those which have just started; any fire occurring outside your work area or any fire that has had time to grow beyond the incipient stage is not covered. All JHU affiliates should evacuate in this case. The training does not include fighting laboratory fires other than those involving only office equipment, paper, etc. Fires involving or directly threatening chemicals, chemical waste, biological or radiological materials, etc. are for fire department specialists only, although a course is under development for lab workers.

To become qualified to use fire extinguishers on incipient office-type fires, you must take two courses on myLearning:

  1. Using Fire Extinguishers at JHU Homewood. This course, modeled on training used for medical personnel at JHMI, provides background information on fires, fire extinguishers, and how and when to attempt extinguishment. Take this course first.

  2. Homewood Fire Extinguisher (Instructor led). This live course, conducted at Homewood by HSE personnel, involves the actual use of a fire extinguisher. Signup for the course is through myLearning even though the course is conducted live. Please do not contact Health, Safety, and Environment to sign up for fire extinguisher training. Students who have not taken the online course will be requested to do so and then re-register for live training.

Both courses are required in order to be considered certified to use extinguishers, and your certification is good for one year from the date of the second course.

Please direct any technical questions about the course registrations and the online courses to myLearning at Questions regarding fire safety should be directed to the JHU Department of Health, Safety, and Environment at 410-516-8798.