Developing the Methodology


Research Question Proposal

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Christopher B. Valiante

FIR 4308

Columbia Southern Universtity

27 March 2018

Fire extinguishers are a taxing annual cost on the average American business owner and corporations. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA, 2017), Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, is a widely adopted code by man jurisdictions across America. NFPA requires that the owner of an establishment be responsible for the maintenance of the fire extinguishers in that facility.

The maintenance requirements of these extinguishers is to have someone in your organization to inspect them monthly. This process is not overly time consuming but does result in the use of man hours which over time depending on the individual’s salary can be costly. The next cost for inspections is the annual requirement to have the extinguisher inspected by certified personnel. This can be quite costly depending on the amount of extinguishers the organization is responsible for. The average cost for this annual maintenance is approximately $40 from the different quotes I could find locally. Take this $40 and multiply it by 10 for your average office building even more the larger the building becomes.

After the annual maintenance cost comes the required 6 year and 12 year inspection. These inspections are much more in depth then the annual inspection and add additional cost. With all of these cost the next question is due we ever get our money back out of the extinguishers. According the NFPA Fie Statistics from 2007 to 2011 office properties averaged 3,340 fires a year (Campbell, 2013). Out of those fires 50% occurred during normal business hours. Is the cost benefit of a fire extinguisher there continues to be the question.

My research question will be as follows. Are fire extinguishers effective enough when used by an untrained bystander to justify the cost to equip and maintain them in commercial occupancies?


Campbell, R. (2013, August). U.S. Structure Fires in Office Properties. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from

NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, 2018 Edition. (2017, October 1). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from

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