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Installation of Fire Extinguishers

Installation and Commissioning of extinguishers is required for businesses and should be carried out by a BAFE-certified fire extinguisher service engineer. This ensures that the correct types of extinguishers are installed in the correct location and are in working condition. The commissioning certificate provides proof of cover for insurance or legal purposes, should you be inspected by the fire services or have a fire.

The following notes are aimed at self-installers in a purely domestic setting.

When wall-mounting, it is important to check for electrical cables and pipework using a detector. For fitting, use appropriate wall fixings in conjunction with the manufacturer-supplied wall bracket. Additional support may be needed when fitting heavier extinguishers to plasterboard walls.

Mounting Heights

The carrying handle of a portable fire extinguisher with a total gross mass of 4kg and above should be approximately 1 metre from the floor. This height is raised to 1.5 metres for extinguishers weighing less than 4kg.

Two Extinguishers Mounted Side by Side

When mounting two extinguishers (one extinguisher with a total mass above 4kg, and the second one below 4kg), both can be mounted on the wall at the handle fixing height for the heaviest extinguisher.

Fire Extinguisher Stands

BS 5306-8: 2012 states that extinguishers should be mounted as per the guidance above, but using a wall bracket to mount your extinguishers isn't always possible. If so, a fire extinguisher stand, fire point, or extinguisher cabinet can be used. In this case, the height recommendations for wall mounted extinguishers need not be followed.

A Note of Warning on 'Pre-Serviced' Fire Extinguishers

Occasionally, you may come across online fire extinguisher retailers offering pre-serviced fire extinguishers. What they offer is the inspection of an extinguisher in their warehouse and the addition of a maintenance label on the extinguisher PRIOR to shipping. Sometimes they even claim that this service is in accordance to BS 5306.

However, this practice is NOT in accordance to BS 5306. Damage to extinguishers in transit can cause loss of pressure, loss of extinguishing medium, bent pins and handles and may make the extinguisher inoperable. This can obviously not be detected whilst the extinguisher is in a warehouse. What is worse is that the presence of a service label indicates that the extinguisher has been commissioned on site by a competent person. This commissioning process should include the assessment of the suitability of the extinguisher type, ensuring that the correct number of extinguishers are installed in the most suitable positions. Adding service labels to an extinguisher without this commissioning process puts lives at risk. British Standards therefore require On Site Commissioning for all extinguishers installed under BS 5306. This entails a full check of the extinguishers as they arrive on site and the correct weighing, preparation and certification of the extinguishers. Only then can you use the certification document as proof that you have taken your responsibility seriously.

 

Reviewed: 05/02/2021 (doc:25 V1.2). 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.