FIRE EXTINGUISHER CHART & FURTHER SERVICE INFORMATION
An Introduction: FIRE EXTINGUISHER CHART
Most businesses fall under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which makes it a legal requirement to have fire extinguishers installed and maintained every 12 months. Not only is this a legal requirement, most insurance companies stipulate this within the policy so fire extinguishers found not serviced in the event of a claim may void a companies insurance.
Included within the above, the appointed person at the business premises must also carryout not less than monthly visual inspection on the fire extinguishers and in some circumstances at more frequent intervals. These checks must be logged and any faults, damage etc found reported to the appropriate person.
Purchasing New Fire Extinguishers
When looking to purchase a new fire extinguisher, there are a number of things to take into consideration.
Any fire extinguisher which is going to be put into use must be certified to British Standards by being Kite Marked and also must be CE Marked. This ensures that the fire extinguisher meets the required standards. A large amount of fire extinguishers are now supplied with a 5 year warranty although sometimes difficulties arise when dealing with problems when bought online as they will tell you to contact the manufacturer where a service company will replace it for you.
Never go for the cheapest fire extinguisher available as this will cost more in the long run due to maintenance and quality. There can be large difference in manufacturing quality even when made to British Standards. The cheaper extinguishers tend to have a shorter life expectancy and major problems arise when a company visits to service the fire extinguisher due to availability of parts.
New fire extinguishers can vary in price when purchasing between companies or over the internet due to quality and whats included.
All brand new fire extinguishers still require what's called a commission service before it's put into use, this includes fire extinguishers bought off the internet so a company would have to attend to carry out the commission service before it meets the required standard.
There is a large misconception that a brand new fire extinguisher purchased can simply be installed into a business premises. Wrong, even brand new fire extinguishers MUST be commissioned serviced as described in British Standards 5306-3 Annex B,
taking into account the safety precautions given in Annex C.
Fire Extinguisher Service Explained
Commission service (New Fire Extinguishers)
This is when a new fire extinguisher is being installed. It cannot be commissioned until it has been taken out of the box and placed in the location it is intended for.
Extended service (5 Year Discharge Test)
Fire extinguishers require testing every 5 years excluding Co2 extinguishers which is every 10 years. The test involves discharging the fire extinguisher contents to ensure that all moving parts operate correctly and to enable access and inspection of the inside.
Basic service (Annual Service)
Every 12 months fire extinguishers must be serviced to current British Standards which includes general checks of the extinguishers and replacement of minor parts.
Fire Extinguisher Types & Classes
AFFF Foam Fire Extinguishers (Class A,B)
Modern Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) fire extinguishers are another breed altogether, one of the best all-round units available.
As the foam fire nozzle is non-conductive, you can use an AFFF fire extinguisher near (but not directly on) live electrical equipment.
Water Fire Extinguishers (Class A)
Water extinguishers are suitable for class A fires only. Never use a water extinguisher on grease fires, electrical fires or class D fires - the flames will spread and make the fire bigger! Water extinguishers are filled with water and pressurized with oxygen. Again - water extinguishers can be very dangerous in the wrong type of situation.
Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers (Class A,B,C,E)
Dry powder fire extinguishers are excellent all-round fire extinguishers, often recommended for use on vehicles.
Dry powder extinguishers are not suitable for use in enclosed spaces such as offices, hotels, schools, etc, as the fire-fighting agent creates a cloud that can obscure vision. The contents may also create breathing problems.
Co2 Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers (Class B,E)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are used for class B and C fires. CO2 extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas, and are highly pressurized. They don't work very well on class A fires because they may not be able to displace enough oxygen to put the fire out, causing it to re-ignite. Best used on electrical items such as computers, printers, TV's, electric heaters and so on.
Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers (Class A,F)
Wet chemical fire extinguishers developed specifically for use on deep fat cooking fires.
These can be used on class A fires but are mainly just for the class F.
Specialist Powder Fire Extinguishers (Class D)
These types of fire extinguishers are known as M28, L2 and Monnex and are used on class D fires caused by burning metals that combust easily on contact with air, such as magnesium and Lithium. Such Specialist fires require a specilised metal powder fire extinguisher which are used in scientific labs or where manufacturing process
involve metal fire risks.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER CHART
The fire extinguisher chart shows the different types and colours you will find throughout your place of work or business premises you visit. Each fire extinguisher will have a section displaying one of the colours shown on the chart to give easy identification of the fire extinguisher type.