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Fire Extinguishers & Equipment FAQs

What type of fire extinguisher do I need?

The type of extinguisher will depend on the location and circumstances. View our fire extinguisher types guide to determine suitable extinguishers for your application.

What type of extinguisher should I use on a gas BBQ?

The best extinguisher for gas barbecues is water mist which is totally non-toxic and fights all types of fires. It also creates a safe cloud of mist between the user and the fire and cannot harm children if used mischievously.

What height should extinguishers be installed at?

If the weight of the extinguisher is less than 4kg, the top of the handle should be 1.5m above ground level when installed. If the mass weight is more than 4kg, the top of the handle should be 1.0m above ground level.

When you are installing two extinguishers next to each other, both can be set at the height of the heaviest extinguisher.

Can you re-fill extinguishers and do you sell extinguishers that can be re-filled?

All our Gloria and Ultrafire extinguishers are fully serviceable and can be re-filled. In accordance to the British Standard powder, foam and water extinguishers must be re-filled after 5 years. CO2 fire extinguishers must be re-filled after 10 years. An exception are the P50 service free extinguishers which do not require service or refilling for ten years.

My carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is out of date. Can it be refurbished or do I need to buy a new one?

CO2 extinguishers can be refurbished after 10 years. However, this involves stripping the paint and refilling it. It is usually cheaper to buy a new extinguisher or an already refurbished extinguisher.

What type of fire extinguisher should a landlord have for tenants?

In an average sized rental property it is advisable for a landlord to provide the tenant with a fire blanket for the kitchen and a small portable fire extinguisher such as a 2ltr foam or 3ltr water with additive to cover the rest of the property. We stock a 2ltr ABF (suitable for flammable solids such as paper and cardboard, flammable liquids such as petrol, oils and fats, and deep fat fryers) fire extinguisher which would also provide additional cover for kitchens as it is suitable for use on deep fat fryers (chip pans). Another option for the landlord is a water mist fire extinguisher which uses the latest technology in fire fighting to enable a water fire extinguisher to tackle class A, B, C, F and electrical fires safely.

Do your extinguishers come fully serviced and ready to use on delivery?

All our portable fire extinguishers are supplied fully charged and ready for use. Wheeled fire extinguishers with large capacity might require initial filling and charging. The product listing will explain this. There are options on the website if you are required to have your extinguishers commissioned on-site and we also offer a full installation service. These additional services will require an engineer to visit your site to carry out the work required.

How do I know if my fire extinguisher is still in working order?

To ensure that your extinguisher is in good working order you should look for the following:

  • Check that the pressure gauge needle is in the green area. If it is in the red zone the extinguisher may not have enough pressure to operate
  • Check that tamper seals are in place 
  • Check that the handle is not bent or dented
  • Check the weight to ensure that it still holds the full contents  
  • Check that the powder in a powder extinguisher is not solid by turning it upside down, a 'clonking' feel to the movement of the powder you will need to replace it
For more information, please see our extinguisher servicing and maintenance guide.

Which extinguishers should I use in a heritage or listed building?

Water mist extinguishers are ideal for heritage and listed buildings. The fine water mist is very effective in extinguishing a fire and leaves minimum residue, reducing the damage to objects and delicate building materials. They are entirely non-toxic too.

View our guide to the different types of fire extinguisher for more information.

Which ID sign should I use for a Hydrospray fire extinguisher?

While Hydrospray signage is available, ‘Hydrospray’ itself is simply a brand name for a water with additive extinguisher. They have the same firefighting suitability (Class A) as a standard water or water with additive extinguisher so a water extinguisher ID sign would be sufficient.

When ordering fire extinguishers for our business, do we have to have on-site certification or installation?

Although it is not compulsory, we advise having on-site certification and installation when buying fire extinguishers for your business.

The Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 states that you need to provide suitable firefighting equipment but doesn’t give any instructions on what you need. Instead, it refers you to relevant guidance such as the British Standard BS 5306-8:2012 which gives information on how to work out your premises’ extinguisher provision and states that extinguishers should be commissioned. "Commissioning" is the common term for having a qualified service engineer attend your site to install the extinguishers, ensure they are all suitable and in working order, and provide certification that demonstrates you have met the accepted standards.

Because this British Standard is not a law you won’t get into trouble for ignoring it, as long as there are no incidents. If, however, there is a fire and someone is injured, the first thing the Fire Investigation Officer will do is check whether you followed the guidance in relation to your fire safety. If you didn’t the FIO will want to know why not and potentially prosecute you for negligence.

Are chrome fire extinguishers legal?

Yes, chrome extinguishers, also known as stainless steel or polished aluminium extinguishers, are made using exactly the same quality standards as red ones. They have the same functionality and are just as effective when tackling a fire.

However, British Standard EN3 requires fire extinguishers to be red and so chrome extinguishers are not compliant. This standard is a recommendation and not a legal requirement so you are not breaking any fire safety rules by installing chrome extinguishers. We recommend you check your insurance requirements for BS EN3 before choosing to install them.

Which type of extinguisher is suitable for a home that is concrete built but has a lot of timber cladding and calor gas cooker?

We would usually recommend a dry water mist extinguisher for mixed risk environments such as gas cooker and general risks. Powder extinguishers are NOT suitable for deep fat fryers and the latest British Standard does not recommend powder extinguishers within buildings any longer (exceptions apply)!

Is it necessary to have your own fire extinguisher when exhibiting at a show?

Some shows may request that you have your own fire extinguisher for your stand at a show. This request is dependent on the risk assessment that will have been carried out for each individual event by the organisers. If you are required to take your own extinguisher a water mist extinguisher covers most fire hazards and does not leave any residue to clean up afterwards.

What are P50 fire extinguishers?

P50 extinguishers are service-free fire extinguishers with a 20 year lifespan. View our P50 help section to find out more.

Are P50 fire extinguishers legal?

Yes, P50 extinguishers fulfil all legal and certification requirements. View our guide to P50 extinguishers and legal requirements to find out more.

How do P50 fire extinguishers differ from traditional metal extinguishers?

Please see our metal vs P50 extinguisher comparison table to see what makes the P50 different from traditional extinguishers.

Which companies use P50 fire extinguishers?

The P50 extinguisher is used by many well-known companies such as Virgin Money, Empire Cinemas and BP. Please see companies using P50 extinguishers for more examples and information.

How do I look after P50 fire extinguishers?

P50s are service-free fire extinguishers which require only a visual inspection carried out by the customer once a year. Please see how to look after your p50 extinguishers to find out what needs to be checked and recorded.

How often do water mist extinguishers need servicing?

De-ionised water mist extinguishers are serviced in the same way foam and water fire extinguishers are. Best practice is described by BS 5306-3, asking for an annual service and a refill every 5 years. The refill needs to be carried out with de-ionised water.

What types of fire can water mist extinguishers extinguish?

Water mist extinguishers are real multi-purpose fire extinguishers capable of tackling the most common types of fire:
  • Class A – solid combustibles
  • Class B – flammable liquids
  • Class C – flammable gases
  • Live electrical equipment up to 1000V
This includes waste bins, clothing, wooden furniture, soft furnishings, curtains and small gas appliances, making them ideal for a wide range of environments from homes to offices, workshops to churches, and even schools.

Are water mist extinguishers safe for use around electrical equipment?

Yes, de-ionised water mist fire extinguishers have passed the di-electrical conductivity test which marks them as safe for use on live electrical equipment up to 1,000V. This is due to 2 key factors that differentiate water mist fire extinguishers from traditional water or foam units: they are filled with de-ionised water which cannot carry electrical current, and the microscopic droplets that form the signature mist are too small and too far apart for electricity to flow through them back to the user.

Are water mist extinguishers bad for the environment?

No, water mist extinguishers are probably the most environmentally-friendly extinguishers on the market. Our water mist extinguishers contain only de-ionised water – there are no chemicals in the extinguishers. This makes the discharge environmentally friendly and any spill or residue can be easily cleaned up.

Can water mist extinguishers be used on deep fat fryers?

Water mist extinguishers have been tested and approved for use on small deep fat fryers (Class F – cooking oils and fats) and do hold a rating for this. However, Safelincs do NOT advise untrained persons to attempt fighting a Class F fire with water mist. Fat fires burn very hot and the liquid holds heat very well, making re-ignition a strong possibility. There is also a risk that when used incorrectly, water droplets can be immersed in the hot oil, leading to violent steam eruptions, which can carry burning fat. Instead, we recommend wet chemical fire extinguishers for Class F fires.

Which fire extinguisher do I need for a lorry?

HGVs carrying dangerous goods require dry powder extinguishers and must comply with The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations (CDG) where the minimum amount of dry powder depends on the vehicle tonnage. To find out the requirements for your vehicle, please see the summary of minimum dry powder requirements.

Have the P50 service-free extinguishers been passed by insurance companies?

Yes. All major insurances have approved P50 self-service fire extinguishers. This is in line with the extinguisher servicing standard BS5306-3:2009 as it states that a competent person needs to maintain all extinguishers. After training to visually inspect the P50 service-free extinguisher, you are classed as a competent person. The manufacturer's requirements clearly state that only a visual inspection is required.

When you purchase the Britannia extinguishers from us our engineers will install the extinguishers free of charge and train you how to carry out the simple yearly inspection. This makes you a competent person. Having ensured that you are suitably covered in accordance to the relevant British Standards, the engineers will then issue you an installation certificate. There is also a video that demonstrates the visual inspection on the website if you need a refresher.


 

(doc:535 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.