Our guide to selecting and purchasing fire extinguishers for UK businesses

Extinguishers are an important requirement for fire safety, ensure you have the best choices for your premises.

Taking the responsibility for fire safety equipment at a premises may seem daunting if you are unsure what is required.  The first step would be ensuring an up to date fire risk assessment has been carried out so the necessary safety measures are put in place.  Once you are clear on what is needed for your specific premises, reviewing what is already in place and what requires servicing/replacing would be a good next step.

Our buyer’s guide can help make the process of purchasing new extinguishers much more manageable.  Extinguishers are generally required for commercial and public premises, however most private domestic premises do not require them.  However, each case holds specific requirements, it is important to consider all the stakeholders viewpoints when deciding on whether or not to provide a extinguisher.

When purchasing a new extinguisher, general good advice goes as follows: Ensure the extinguisher types are appropriate to the fuels that exist, ensure that you don’t have to travel more than 30m to find an extinguisher and that there are extinguishers available on each storey of a building.

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It is important understand which extinguisher can fight which class of fire.

Solid fuels, such as paper and wood, require water extinguishers.

A Foam extinguisher can also be used on solid fuels, as well as flammable liquids.

Fires involving electrical equipment such as computers would usually use a carbon dioxide extinguisher.

More specialist industries may require extinguishers to deal with oil fires or petrol fires, such as specialist powder or  wet chemical extinguisher.

Previously, fire extinguisher advice would recommend powder extinguishers as a multi purpose tool to help cover a wide range of situations.  However, recently this advice has changed due to the poor visibility and mess which is caused by powder extinguishers and could result in slowing down easy evacuation from buildings.  You can read more about this change of advice in our previous blog.

Don’t be tempted by cheap extinguishers, and remember that all new extinguisher need to be commissioned by an engineer on site before installation.

It is also a requirement that all staff are trained in the correct use of fire extinguishers.

If you would like more information on a specific requirements and recommendations, why not contact an approved fire risk assessor or fire safety surveyor, particularly those with FIA trained engineers.

Remember, once you have purchased your new extinguisher, don’t forget to inspect them weekly for tamper or damage and have a professional service carried out annually.

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