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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 your specific fire risks. 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.

Water mist fire extinguishers are also an ideal solution for other types of BBQ, such as charcoal and electric. They have been 35kV di-electrical tested and are safe for use on live electrical equipment up to 1000V at a distance of 1m.

What height should extinguishers be installed at?

The installation height for extinguishers depends on the weight of the extinguisher. 

  • 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 fire extinguisher is more than 4kg, the top of the handle should be 1.0m above ground level.
  • When installing two extinguishers next to each other, you can install both at the height of the heaviest extinguisher.

My carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is out of date.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?

Water mist fire extinguishers provide the best broad-spectrum solution for landlords. Water mist can tackle most common fire risks in the home and is 5kV di-electrical tested for use on live electrical equipment up to 1000V at a distance of 1m. For the kitchen, we recommend a 1ltr+ water mist extinguisher and a fire blanket. If a property has a deep fat fryer, we would recommend installing a wet chemical fire extinguisher in addition to the fire blanket.

Water mist fire extinguishers contain only de-ionised water, making them non-toxic and safe to use around children and animals. They leave no messy residue to clean up after discharge.

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, including our large-capacity wheeled fire extinguishers. Should you require de-pressurised extinguishers for air-freighting, please call 0800 612 6537.

We offer on-site extinguisher commissioning and full installation service. These additional services require one of our BAFE-registered engineers to visit your site.

To ensure that your extinguisher is in good working order you should do the following checks at least every month:

  • 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. If you feel a 'clonking' 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’ 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 a business, do you 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 should provide suitable firefighting equipment, but no specific guidance is stated on what you need. Instead, it refers you to relevant guidance such as the British Standard BS 5306-8, 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 to demonstrate that you have met the accepted standards.

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

Having your extinguishers commissioned by a BAFE registered engineer will ensure that you have the correct type and number of fire extinguihsers in the right place and they are in full-working order. 

Are chrome fire extinguishers legal?

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

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

What is dielectric testing?

Dielectrical testing is carried out on fire extinguishers to determine whether they are safe for use on electrical equpiment. If the contents conducts electricity, it will not be safe for this use. Once the extinguisher has passed this test, it is still limited for safety reasons for use on maximum 1000V and a minimum distance between extinguisher and fire of 1 meter (1000V is four times the voltage used in a domestic building). Find out more about dialectrical testing or view our range of extinguishers for electrical equipment.

Do you sell extinguishers that can be refilled?

Yes, our fire extinguisher ranges can be refilled after they have been used or discharged. For more information about how to refill extinguishers contact

Can you refill fire extinguishers after they've been used?

Some fire extinguishers can be refilled after discharge. If the fire extinguisher was purchased from Safelincs, we offer a free after fire replacement. In the unfortunate event of a fire, if you use your Safelincs extinguishers we will replace them free of charge. Please contact our customer care team at with your details and also the incident number or report from the fire service and photos of the fire damage. By claiming replacement products you agree to allow Safelincs to publicise the support case, including photographs, anonymously.

How often should fire extinguishers be serviced?

Steel fire extinguishers should have an annual basic service. P50 service-free fire extinguishers require an annual visual check. These inspections include inspecting the gauges, pins, hose, tags, and external condition of the extinguishers and updating the service sticker. In addition, weight checks are completed for steel extinguishers. 

Some types of extinguishers require an extended service every 5 years or an overhaul every 10 years. Read our guide to fire extinguisher servicing frequency for more information.

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. This usually depends on the risk assessment carried out by the event 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.

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

Yes. All major insurances have approved P50 self-service fire extinguishers

Under the extinguisher servicing standard BS5306-3:2009 a competent person is required to maintain the extinguishers in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. Britannia state that only an annual visual inspection is required.

When you purchase P50 service-free extinguishers from us, our engineers will install the extinguishers free of charge and train you or your staff in how to carry out the simple yearly inspection. After this training, you are classed as a competent person. Our engineers will ensure that you have the right type and number of extinguishers in accordance with the relevant British Standards and will then issue you an installation certificate, which you can pass on to your insurer. 

There is also a video that demonstrates the visual inspection on the website if you need a refresher.


What is electrical fire?

Strictly speaking there is no such thing as electrical fire, as electricity does not burn. Neither do the cable cores and other conductors. However, electrical current can heat up other materials to start fires. Often, it is the cable covering or foreign bodies in the electric equipment start start to burn first.

If the electric supply to the equipment on fire continues, it is 'a fire involving live electrical equipment'. The use of, for example, a simple water extinguisher on this type of fire could lead to electrocution of the person fighting the fire. Our section of electrically safe extinguishers will help you select a suitable extinguisher for your building or application.

Which extinguishers are suitable for electric equipment?

Ensure any water-based extinguisher has the lightening symbol displayed. This shows it has passed an electrical safety test in accordance with BS EN3 and is suitable for use on live electrical equipment up to 1000V and at a distance of 1m.

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

We usually recommend a dry water mist extinguisher for mixed-risk environments such as those with gas cookers and general fire risks. The latest British Standard does not recommend powder extinguishers within buildings (exceptions apply).
For properties with a deep fat fryer wet chemical fire extinguishers are recommended. 

Is AFFF foam banned in the UK?

AFFF foam contains PFAS chemicals, which have been identified as being harmful to the environment, people, and wildlife. Some PFAS chemicals have been banned since 2020, and other legal restrictions are imminent. This new legislation is expected to enforce a ban on the manufacture, sale and eventually ban the use of all AFFF foam extinguishers in the UK.

Need to replace your AFFF foam extinguishers? Read our advice about fluorine-free extinguishers for more clarification on suitable alternatives to AFFF foam.

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.

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 1000v in accordance with BS EN3-7. Two key factors differentiate water mist fire extinguishers from traditional water or foam units: 

  • Water mist extinguishers are filled with de-ionised water, which cannot carry electrical current.
  • The microscopic droplets that form the signature mist are too small and too far apart for electricity to flow through them.

What are P50 fire extinguishers?

P50 extinguishers are service-free fire extinguishers with a 20-year lifespan. Due to their unique construction, P50 extinguishers are lightweight, corrosion-free and incredibly durable making them ideal for use in any indoor or outdoor environment. View our P50 help section to find out more.

How do P50 fire extinguishers differ from traditional metal extinguishers?

One of the main differences between steel and P50 extinguishers is that the P50 only requires an annual visual inspection by a competent person. To learn more, read 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, Heathrow 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, so you are only required to do an annual visual inspection. To find out more about what you need to check, read our guide on how to look after your p50 extinguishers

As with all fire extinguishers, you should do a monthly walk-past inspection as part of your H&S routines to ensure the extinguisher has not been used, moved or tampered with. 

How do I dispose of old fire extinguishers?

Fire extinguishers should be disposed of carefully as they are classified as hazardous waste. Please read our guide on how to dispose of old fire extinguishers to find out the safest way to dispose of your old fire extinguishers.

How often do water mist extinguishers need servicing?

Traditional metal water mist extinguishers need to be serviced annually by a qualified engineer in the same way that foam, powder and water extinguishers are.

Can water mist extinguishers be used on deep fat fryers?

Water mist extinguishers have been certified for use on Class F fires (cooking oils and fats), however following our own independent research, Safelincs does not recommend using water mist on anything above a 5F-rated fire (this is equivalent to an average domestic deep fat fryer). For class F fires above a 5F rating, we recommend a wet chemical extinguisher.

Are P50 Extinguishers maintenance free?

P50 extinguishers are 'service-free' rather than maintenance-free. Due to their unique construction, they do not require annual servicing from a trained extinguisher technician. Instead, they can be visually checked each year by a responsible member of your team. This saves money on annual servicing. Safelincs provide training for your staff on how to visually inspect P50 service-free fire extinguishers. 

All types of fire extinguishers need to be maintained in good working order to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the British Standards. The annual maintenance process is much simpler for P50 Extinguishers, hence why they are often referred to as 'maintenance-free extinguishers'.

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.

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.

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
  • Class F – flammable oils (not recommended for use on anything above a 5F rated fire (this is equivalent to an average domestic deep fat fryer)
  • 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.


(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.


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