Warning about pre-commissioned fire extinguishers

We occasionally get asked by our customers, if we could pre-service, or pre-commission our fire extinguishers for them prior to shipping. This practice, explicitly forbidden for all registered fire safety companies, involves a visual inspection and then labeling of an extinguisher with a signed off service label at the RETAILER’S warehouse. While this sounds like a clever practice, it is a service we would never offer to our customers. Apart from the fact that the British Standard BS5306-3:2009 specifically requests on-site commissioning to be completed AFTER all transport involved, the practice of pre-commissioning puts the customer both at the risk of injury and exposes them to substantial legal liabilities.

The main risk to the functioning of a fire extinguisher, and the reason for the requirement for extinguishers to be commissioned on site is damage during transport.


Handles can get bent with the biggest risk being the safety pin being bent to a degree where it cannot be removed in an emergency. The latter event happens when cheap fire extinguishers rest on their heads in transit. Be careful when purchasing extinguishers online from less professional suppliers, as they often use mild steel pins that bend easily. Safelincs’ fire extinguishers, on the other hand, are 100% protected in transit by special head protectors or the use of stainless steel pins with extended diameters so that the pins can never bend in transit.

Another transport risk is leakage of CO2 fire extinguishers in transit. CO2 fire extinguishers do not have pressure valves and only a careful weight test during commissioning (removing the horn and measuring with precision scales) will reveal any loss in pressure and weight.

The other strong rationale for proper on-site commissioning is that customers require a certificate by an engineer to state that their premises are covered in accordance to the British Standard. A sticker on the extinguisher does not certify that the extinguisher is installed in the correct position or that it is in fact the right extinguisher for the risks present at the location.

All of this means that by taking a shortcut buying pre-commissioned extinguishers you are putting yourself at risk of liability if a faulty extinguisher is the cause of a failed attempt to put out a fire, resulting in loss of property and possibly injury or death. An insurance company might not pay out for damages, if the extinguishers on site were not correctly commissioned.

Safelincs has long been addressing this issue and offers all its extinguishers with an optional ON-SITE commissioning or installation/commissioning service. Our BAFE certified engineers will visit you and commission or install and commission the extinguishers at your premises. If the commissioning and installation option is chosen, our engineer will survey your site to make sure you have the correct extinguisher provision, fit the extinguishers brackets in the correct location, certify the extinguishers and label and sign each extinguisher. You are then fully covered for all eventualities.

CO2 fire extinguisher horns

Unlike other types of fire extinguishers, CO2 extinguishers feature a discharge horn as opposed to a hose.  When a standard CO2 extinguisher horn is installed, it is fitted semi-tight, so that it can be swivelled  but still holds itself in the chosen position.  This is because during operation, the CO2 extinguishing agent causes a standard CO2 horn to frost over.  If the horn is held during this time, it can potentially injure the user through freeze burn. An even better solution to this problem is to buy CO2 extinguishers with frost-free horns. These can safely be touched when fighting the fire, giving the user a lot more control when  deploying the extinguisher. All Safelincs 2kg CO2 extinguishers have frost-free horns as standard.

Although the standard swivel horn is a popular choice and an economical solution, it does not have the necessary characteristics to protect the user from freeze burn injuries.  The frost free horn is double lined and therefore has the insulation to eliminate these risks should the user accidentally hold on to the fire extinguisher horn during discharge.
5kg CO2 fire extinguishers are much larger in size and the discharge component for this is a hose and horn assembly.  This does not have a frost free-horn, however, the horn features an integrated handle for safe use during operation.
Should you wish to upgrade the horns on any 2kg CO2 extinguisher to the frost free double lined horns these can be found in the tools and spares section of the website.

Break the Fire Triangle, Kill the Fire

What is the fire triangle?

The fire triangle is made up of three elements, which are the three components needed for a fire to start and burn: fuel, oxygen and heat. Removing one of these elements will prevent the fire from spreading and causing irreversible damage. Fire protection equipment will help you and your staff break the triangle, reducing potential risks of damage to a building or loss of life.  

The Fire Triangle: Heat, Fuel, Oxygen.

The three elements of fire explained


Heat must be present for a fire to ignite. Flammable materials constantly release flammable vapours, where heat is present, these vapours will ignite and start to burn.

Once a fire has started, heat from the fire will dry and remove moisture from surrounding materials (fuel), which results in the fire spreading.


A fire needs fuel to burn and feed it. Fuel can be in the form of any combustible material such as paper, wood, textiles, oil, liquids etc. Removing the fuel will prevent a fire from spreading or starting in the first place.


Without oxygen, a fire cannot ignite and continue to burn. Oxygen is all around, making this one of the most significant factors of the fire triangle.

How does fire safety equipment break the fire triangle?

Installing fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets, can help stop a small fire from spreading. Fire blankets deprive the flame of oxygen by covering it, killing the fire.

Many fire extinguishers, such as foam and water fire extinguishers, work in the same way; either by covering the flame and its fuel to remove oxygen, or by cooling the fire and any nearby fuel, reducing the risk of the fire spreading. Water Mist fire extinguishers deploy a cooling mist, and are safe to use on live electrical equipment up to 1000V, making them an ideal extinguisher for businesses, education, hospitality and the care sector.

Although fire safety equipment can be a useful tool in stopping a small fire from spreading, a fire should only be tackled if staff are trained to use them, and are confident in what they are doing.

Water Mist fire extinguishers are ideal for businesses, education, hospitality and the care sector.

Fire Safety Training Courses

To prepare your staff to effectively extinguish fires, there are a variety of on-site fire safety training courses available. This includes fire safety awareness and fire warden training, as well as evacuation training to ensure that staff can escape to a place of safety until the fire is under control. These training courses will not only reduce the risk of a fire breaking out on your premises by enabling staff to reduce the risk of fire in their daily duties, but also improve responses and outcomes in the event of a fire.

Preventing a fire from starting in the first place is always the best form of fire safety. Encourage staff to keep an eye out for potential causes of fire, such as faulty electrical equipment or hazardous materials, and use flammable liquid storage cabinets to reduce the risk of these flammable liquids igniting.

All staff must be trained to safely evacuate to a place of safety in the event of a fire.

Employers are required by law to ensure that all employees receive adequate fire safety training. Employers must also provide adequate equipment, such as evacuation chairs and evacuation sheets, to ensure everyone in the building can safely evacuate.

For more information about the best fire safety equipment for your business, or to arrange a site survey, contact us today.


Q. What element of the triangle does a fire blanket remove?

A. Fire blankets suffocate the flame, removing oxygen from the fire.

Q. What do foam extinguishers remove from the triangle?

A. Foam extinguishers work in multiple ways to fight fire – the foam spray covers the flame and its fuel to remove oxygen, while also cooling the flame to extinguish it.

Reviewing domestic fire safety in the light of the recent riots

Now that the rioting seems to have come to an end it is worth considering how to be prepared for similar occurrences in the future. Most of the physical damage, excluding the massive damage to lives and communities, was caused by arson attacks and many people were put at risk by being trapped in their houses by fire.
There are a few precautions one can take to avoid being trapped by fire and to reduce the risk from arson.

Make arson attacks more difficult

It is easy for rioters to pour petrol through a letterbox and to throw a match after it. The impact is devastating. The fire races through the house and the main exit is blocked by fire. However, you can protect yourself by installing an anti-arson letterbox. These fire protection bags sit behind the letter slot and normally just catch your mail. However, they also will contain any flammable liquid poured through the letter opening and automatically extinguish any fire in the letterbox with a small automatic extinguisher or intumescent materials built into the anti-arson letterbox.

Stop your soft furnishing catching fire

You can reduce the flammability of curtains, carpets and soft furnishing in entrance areas by treating them with fire retardant spray. These sprays make fabrics less flammable and thus reduce the impact of a fire bomb thrown into a building.

Protect your most valuable documents from fire

Place your most valuable and personal items in a fireproof box. These

fireproof boxes are ideal for valuable

photos, passports, certificates etc. Special fireproof boxes for electronic data protection will protect your familiy videos and electronically stored data/photos. Some of the boxes are also water tight, which is important in case the fire brigade have to douse the flames with water and foam.

Ensure you have a second route of escape

Do you have a second escape route if the hallway is in flames? Make sure you can open upstairs windows to escape. If they do not open, keep a hammer or a dedicated  emergency escape hammer near the windows. If the fire brigade cannot easily reach an upstairs window, consider a fire escape ladder which can be hooked over a window sill in an emergency.

Don’t suffocate from the smoke

Smoke from house fires is extremely toxic. A few breaths will overwhelm you and render you unconscious. If the house is filled with smoke, crawl along the floor towards the nearest exit.  Wrap a wet cloth over your face if you have to run through smoke or fire, however, you must not breathe in the smoke due to the extreme tocicity! Consider having a fire escape hood in the house. These hoods cover your head and filter the fumes of the fire. This gives you valuable time to escape through smoke.

Make sure you can extinguish small fires yourself

During the riot the fire brigades were stretched by the number of fires. As a result their response time will not have

been as fast as usual. Make sure you can tackle small fires yourself by having buckets of water at the ready or equip yourself with fire extinguishers

Make sure you can extinguish a person on fire

Keep a non-flammable blanket or large fire blanket at the ready to wrap around a person or roll the person on the floor to extinguish the flames. Have a bucket of water placed in a suitable place or ensure that you have a water fire extinguisher.

Fire Drill

Ensure that you know how you will escape from your home if a fire blocked the main exit. If you have children talk to them in a calm manner about what to do if there is a fire. If the child is particularly clingy to one parent, get that parent to lead the way out of the building. The child will be more willing to leave the building that way.

Ensure that you have working smoke alarms fitted to alert you to a fire, and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room where you burn solid fuel, such as a gas boiler, gas or open fire, gas cooker. Make sure you check that they are working on a regular basis and that they are never left without a battery in them.

For help and advice call 0800 612 6537 or email support@safelincs.co.uk

Which fire safety products are dangerous goods in transit?

Some fire safety products, such as fire extinguishers, smoke detector tester aerosols and batteries, are classed as dangerous goods. Here at Safelincs, we consider all aspects of storage, packaging, declaration and transportation of dangerous goods so that you have peace of mind that your shipments are correctly packaged and transported.

We have designated formally trained staff who are our in-house specialists to

Warehouse operative sticking a dangerous goods sticker on a shipment.
Safelincs have detailed procedures in place to ensure ADR and IMDG requirements are met

assess, prepare and pack shipments according to current guidelines and declare shipments in the appropriate manner.

To adhere to the strict regulations outlined through ADR (road service) and IMDG (sea freight), Safelincs produced a thorough dangerous goods procedure for each product classed as hazardous, ensuring that all the requirements for dangerous goods regulations are adhered to.  Within this procedure, each product type is described, and our trained staff are aware of all the classifications, which mode of transport can be used, and if Dangerous Goods Notes are required for the movement of goods.

By working closely with our shipping companies and keeping up to date with dangerous goods regulations through yearly re-training we ensure the protection of our customers and all carriers/freight companies used.