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Fire Extinguishers & Equipment FAQs

What type of extinguisher do I need?

It depends on the 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 dry water mist which is totally non-toxic and fights all types of fires. It also creates a safe cloud between the user and the fire and cannot harm children if used mischievously.

What height should extinguishers be installed at?

The height at which to install extinguishers depends on the total weight of that particular 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 mass weight is more than 4kg, the top of the handle should be 1.0m above ground level. When there is a combination of the two, 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My carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is out of date.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 a 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 extinguisher is still in working order?

You should replace the extinguisher after about ten years. However, if the age is not known, shake the extinguisher - if you can hear the powder moving freely inside (flowing rather than 'clonking') and the pressure gauge is still in the green the extinguisher should be fine. For larger powder fire extinguishers, please see our guide about dates on extinguishers.

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

Dry water mist extinguishers can be used in all domestic applications. They cause minimum damage to surrounding areas and are entirely non-toxic.

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 so a simple water ID sign will be sufficient (you would use a water ID sign for water with additive extinguishers).

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.

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 have been requested to take an extinguisher and have agreed to the terms and conditions of the event you must take one with you.

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)!

(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.