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Are P50 Service-Free Extinguishers Legal?

UK law makes businesses and organisations responsible for carrying out fire risk assessments and to implement the appropriate actions recommended by their fire risk assessments. Legally binding guidance is given by a range of fire risk assessment help guides. With regards to portable fire extinguishers in businesses and organisations these guides state “You have responsibility for the provision of appropriate firefighting equipment. It is also your responsibility to check that all firefighting equipment is in the correct position and in satisfactory order before the premises are used“.  The verification of correct position and working state of the extinguishers has to be carried out by any business or organisation about once a month and applies to both P50 and traditional extinguishers.

All newly installed extinguishers must by law also comply with standard BS EN 3-7, which the P50 extinguishers are certified and kitemarked to by the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The fire risk assessment-related guidance also points to a British Standard BS5306-3 to describe the maintenance of portable extinguishers. However, this particular standard, classified by BSI only as a recommendation and explicitly NOT as a Specification, is limited to extinguishers requiring annual maintenance. BS5306-3 does not mention service-free extinguishers. As a result, the fall-back position for British Standards applies, namely that in the absence of guidance for new technologies, the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions have to be applied, up to such a time that the standard includes the new technologies. As a result, Britannia’s guidance with regards to the annual visual inspection and the ten-yearly re-fill frequency applies.

In short: P50 extinguishers fulfil all legal and certification requirements. Customers must carry out the annual visual inspection specified by the P50’s manufacturer and continue the ‘walk-by’ inspection in the same way as before.

Note: Numerous insurances have specifically approved the P50 for use in businesses and organisations. A number of insurances have also changed over their own sites to P50 and the entire Scottish Court system is using P50 extinguishers.

To find out more about P50 service-free extinguishers, please contact our friendly team on 0800 612 653 or email You can also visit our P50 page for more details or to order the P50.


Reviewed: 14/09/2021 (doc:553 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.