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Fire Extinguishers & Equipment FAQs

What type of 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My carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is out of date.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?

The Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 states that you need to provide suitable firefighting equipment but doesn’t give any guidance on what you need (in fact it is rather vague on this). 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 (certificated on-site). 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 Officer will do is check whether you followed the ‘guidance’ in relation to your fire safety. If you didn’t he will want to know why not and potentially prosecute you for negligence. So the short answer to the question is ‘NO’ you don’t have to have on-site certification, but the long answer is a resounding ‘YES’ you do.

Can I use chrome extinguishers even though they're not kitemarked?

The red fire extinguishers are manufactured and kitemarked to BS EN3. The chrome units are not manufactured to the British standard but are still CE marked. There is no requirement for new buildings to only install the red extinguishers. You may have a clause in your insurance policy saying that you need extinguishers manufactured to BS EN 3 and installed according to BS5306, in which case you would be required to install the red units. But all extinguishers, red or chrome, can be installed and maintained to the British Standard so if that is the only stipulation then you can install chrome.

My building insurance states that the extinguishers installed need to be checked yearly by a competent person. Have the self-maintenance extinguishers been passed by insurance companies?

All major insurances have approved P50 fire extinguishers. The relevant sections in the extinguisher servicing standard BS5306-3:2009 state that a competent person needs to maintain all extinguishers and that such a competent person is primarily defined as to have the ability to carry out the procedures as defined by the manufacturer. The manufacturer Britannia Fire clearly states 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 yearly inspection. They also ensure that you are suitably covered in accordance to the relevant British Standards.The engineers will also issue you an installation certificate. There is also a video that demonstrates the visual inspection on the website.

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.

(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.