Virtual Paint Mixing Room
Fire Extinguisher

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You have invested a lot of time and money in your collision repair business. Fires are a primary cause of significant property losses in a shop, and can seriously disrupt your business. Many of the solvents you are using contain flammable materials so they must be handled as combustible liquids. Solvent vapours can be ignited by open flames (welding, pilot lights, matches, cigarettes) or by sparks from electrical switches, boxes, or other electrical connections. Solvent vapours can travel along the ground and flashback along a vapour trail. Improperly stored solvent laden wipes or rags can also start a fire.

To protect your investment and your employees, it is important to implement the following steps to prevent a fire:

Ensure that your shop complies with all applicable Fire, Electrical and Building Code requirements.

Develop a Fire Prevention plan, train your employees, and have it posted in prominent places around your shop. Make certain your employees know what to do in the event of a fire.

The Top Fire concerns for Autobody Shops:

- Spray painting operations must be carried out in a proper spray room / booth in a location which conforms to zoning regulations; a person's garage in a residential area or near a school or hospital is generally not permitted and the operator must also have a business license form the city--this benefits both the consumer and the business operator by limiting or stopping backyard operators.

- Spray booths are to be of non-combustible construction (including the operator's work area and the floor). The spray booth is to have proper filters installed in it's exhaust ducts to prevent overspray buildup in the ductwork.

- The spray booth must be capable of exhausting area with an air velocity of 30m/min. across the face of the spray booth. Coupled with this, there must be a gauge or other device which monitors the air velocity and will give an alarm if a problem occurs. Exhaust air cannot be recirculated back into the booth unless so designed to do so.

- Ensure that your exhaust system does not "impinge" on your neighbor---that is you don't want to have exhaust fumes blowing into an adjacent window or air vent.

- Access doors are to be provided in exhaust ducts to facilitate cleaning of overspray deposits.
All electrical services in the spray booth must conform to the Electrical Safety Code; with this in mind, you cannot install exhaust fan motors within the booth or the duct.

- Flammable liquids must be stored in a listed cabinet and any mixing or dispensing operations must be done in an approved, separated room or, may be done within the booth itself but not in the open shop area. There must also be spill kit on site to deal with accidental spills and a means of properly disposing of any waste / spilled materials.

- The spray booth and ductwork is to be cleaned as often as necessary to prevent build-ups of combustible deposits and filters changed on a regular basis, not simply taken out when they become clogged.

- Spray booths must be equipped with either sprinkler protection or a fixed fire extinguishing system. Both types of protection, as well as portable fire extinguishers, must be inspected 1 X year by a qualified contractor.

- The body shop should have at least 2 fire extinguishers on site, each with a minimum rating of 3A 20BC (A rating on each unit of 4A 40 BC is recommended)

Additional Fire Safety Information

More information on Fire Safety for Collision Repair Facilities can be found in the AIA's Top Ten Steps, see pages 10-11,

Follow the CCME's Codes of Good Practices for Automotive Refinish Operations, see


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The Virtual Collision / Paint Shop is only a graphic representation of a conceptual service and repair facility. The Virtual Collision / Paint Shop only illustrates subjects which call for environmental program management and not as an illustration of good facility layout and design practices.

We do not guarantee the correctness or accuracy of the information, and will not be responsible for incorrect or inaccurate information, or any damage or loss suffered by any person as a result of reliance on such information.

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