Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers

With nearly 20,000 commercial fires a year, it is clear to see why ensuring all guidelines and requirements are met to the highest standard when it comes to safeguarding your business, your staff and your goods. Fire extinguishers are crucial when taking fire prevention measures in your business premises.

Fire extinguishers are a legal requirement for any active business and must be provided when there is any risk of a fire occurring. All designated Responsible Persons must allow for fire risk assessments to be carried out. They must also offer training to staff on how to use fire extinguishers and where to find them within the premises, how to evacuate the premises safely and what to do during fire drills.

All fire extinguishers guidelines are covered by British Standard and their provision and maintenance is covered by BS5306. This informs business owners on which specific type of extinguishers to have in their premises and exactly where to place them.

There are six different fire categories in which materials within a building can fit into, dependent on their substances:

  • Class A fires, which are fuelled by solid materials such as paper, wood, plastic, furniture and textiles. Extinguishers normally used to tackle these fires include dry powder, water, foam and wet chemical extinguishers;
  • Class B fires, fuelled by flammable liquids such as oil or petrol. CO2 gas, foam and powder extinguishers are known for tackling this type of fire;
  • Class C fire, fuelled by flammable gases such as butane, methane and propane. Dry powder extinguishers are the most appropriate in these circumstances;
  • Class D fire, fuelled by burning metals such as aluminium and or titanium. A dry powder extinguisher is more commonly used in this case;
  • Class E fires, caused by electrical equipment such as computers. Foam, CO2 gas and water mist are the most appropriate for tackling these fires;
  • Class F fires, fuelled by fats and cooking oils. Wet chemicals and water mist extinguishers are normally the most appropriate with these types of fires.

Normally, a minimum of two Class A fire extinguishers are necessary on every floor of a building. If the premises are relatively small, one should be acceptable. However, the number of extinguishers and their types will rely on the activities carried out in the building.

Most premises will contain electrical equipment, which means they will need to have at least 2kg of CO2 gas extinguishers. The size of the business will also determine the number of extinguishers and whether it is considered of high or low risk.

All extinguishers should be sited and secured in groups to create a Fire Point. Fire signage must also be in place to signal to all individuals where they are located throughout the building in the event of an emergency.

Fire risk assessments are absolutely essential in ensuring all safety requirements are being met to the highest possible standards. The types of extinguishers your business requires and their location can only be determined once risk assessments have been completed.

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