Installation of Fire Extinguishers
Installation and Commissioning should always be carried out by a BAFE certified fire extinguisher service engineer if the extinguishers are required for business use. This ensures that the extinguishers are installed in the correct location, and are certified as a proof of correct installation and sufficient provision against the fire safety risks. 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 pipe work using a suitable 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. In locations such as public halls a "safety bracket" may be beneficial.
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 the extinguisher in their warehouse and the addition of a maintenance label on the extinguisher. 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 like loss of pressure, loss of extinguishing medium, bent handles, and hoses which make the extinguisher inoperable do not occur whilst the extinguisher is in the warehouse but all of these issues can occur in transit to the customer after the supplier has already declared the extinguisher 'fit for operation'. This puts lives at risk, especially if suppliers do not protect extinguishers adequately for shipment. BSI has therefore changed the standard to 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 in accordance to your fire risk assessment seriously.
Pre-servicing or pre-labelling is therefore not permitted any longer. If you require your extinguishers to be installed in accordance to BS 5306, you must have them installed and commissioned on site by a servicing company. BS 5306 conformity is always required if you are a business or landlord, or if you have to carry out a fire risk assessment.
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.