Fire extinguishers are the first line of defence when it comes to reactive fire safety. Of course, it’s preferable to let the fire brigade tackle a fire, but there will be times where a trained person may be required to extinguish a small fire or keep a fire at bay while the fire service arrives.
If you operate a commercial premises, then you’ll know that you have a responsibility to ensure that your property meets all relevant fire safety legislation and guidelines. This responsibility includes a range of fire safety equipment, from fire alarms to fire extinguishers. But how many fire extinguishers are you legally required to have? In this article, the team at KW Fire will explain just that.
How many fire extinguishers do I need in my premises?
Fire legislation in the UK states that you should have at least two Class A fire extinguishers on every floor of your building – these extinguishers can be of three, six or nine litre capacities. Class A extinguishers are designed to combat fires involving organic materials – like paper. If having two extinguishers could potentially obstruct an escape in a fire situation, then this rule does not need to be adhered to.
Depending on the industry you’re in and the type of environment within your building, you may need a different type of fire extinguisher. Having the right type of fire extinguisher is absolutely essential for safely extinguishing fires.
What type of fire extinguishers do I need?
There are five different types of fire extinguishers, each one designed to combat certain types of fire. The substances contained within each extinguisher are specially designed to nullify certain fuels – if used on the wrong type of fire, an extinguisher can actually end up making the situation worse.
The types of fire extinguishers available are:
- Foam – used for fires involving organic materials and flammable liquids
- Water – used for fires involving organic materials
- CO2 – used for fires involving flammable liquid and electrical equipment
- Wet Chemical – used for fires involving organic materials and cooking oils
- Dry Powder – used for all types of fire except fires involving cooking oils
The type of fire extinguishers you need will depend on the types of hazards present in your building. For example, a restaurant will be more susceptible to cooking oil fires than an office building, but organic material fires are maybe more likely to occur in an office building than a restaurant.
Risks of failing to adhere to fire extinguisher legislation
The foremost risk of not taking fire extinguisher rules seriously is the risk of injury and death to people within your building. Without the presence of the right extinguisher, a small fire can easily spread and become unmanageable, damaging property and seriously risking the safety of those within it. You can be prosecuted if you fail to follow fire safety legislation, with punishments ranging from fines to prison sentences. You can be fined up to £5,000 or imprisoned for two years if you are found to be in breach of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
How do I know which fire extinguishers I need?
When it comes to fire safety, nothing should be left to chance. The best way to find out which types of fire your property is most at risk from – and therefore the types of extinguisher you need – is a fire risk assessment. By arranging for a fire risk assessment from a professional fire safety company like KW Fire, you will receive a full record of your property’s vulnerabilities and recommendations for improvements. As well as fire risk assessments, KW Fire also provides fire warden training for your staff to ensure that you’re fully prepared for a fire emergency.
For more information about our fire risk assessments and fire warden training, please contact KW Fire today and one of our experts will be more than happy to help.