CALL OUR TEAM NOW 0800 612 6537 Also FREE from UK mobiles

Tackling Fire Safety Costs in Schools and Academies

Each year, more than 1,300 schools in the UK suffer fires large enough to be attended by fire and rescue services. 56% of these are classed as non-accidental. According to government estimates, the cost of school fires between 2000 and 2004 was £58 million per year.

The odds on your school experiencing such a fire are about one in 20, but that is not the whole picture. Many fires are not reported, at least not to the fire brigades, particularly if they self-extinguished or are put out by staff. Research by the Arson Prevention Bureau in 1998 found that more than half of all school fires fell in this category and that the total cost of unreported fires is unlikely to be very large.

Fire extinguishers are important in the fight against fires in schools. Small fires can be tackled successfully, which prevents serious damage to a school by stopping the spread of fire at an early stage. The Fire Industry Association (FIA) carried out a large study in 2010 and found that 88% of fires were successfully put out by extinguishers. An interesting finding of the study was, that this percentage would have been higher had it not been for the use of 2kg CO2 extinguishers, which were found to be unsuccessful in putting out fires.

As academies take control of their costs and schools seek to maximise educational expenditure, spending on fire safety is coming under scrutiny.

However, whilst the costs of providing and maintaining fire extinguishers are significant they can be reduced without compromising safety.

How to reduce costs whilst improving coverage

Two relatively new products on the market will drastically cut costs and give better all-round coverage in the different areas of your school.

  • Service-free P50 fire extinguishers are available in water mist, powder, foam and wet chemical versions. They are lighter and stronger than traditional appliances since they are constructed from a composite plastic reinforced with the material from which bullet proof vests are made. This means they will not rust or corrode and, most importantly, they will not need an annual service. A simple annual check is carried out by the caretaker, creating a huge cost saving. After ten years they can be refurbished and used for a further ten years. P50 Service-Free Water Mist Extinguishers can replace a traditional foam/water and a CO2 extinguisher combination in most cases, leading to further cost savings.
  • Water mist extinguishers are capable of tackling almost all common fires including class A, B, C and electrical fires. The unique water mist has the cooling effect of water and creates a "mist curtain" cutting off the oxygen supply. These extinguishers can be utilised in areas of the school where traditional foam, water and CO2 extinguishers are employed and give coverage for a wider range of fires. This reduces the total number of extinguishers required, saving money. Water mist extinguishers are safe and effective to use on clothing and contain 100% de-ionised water meaning there are no harmful chemicals. 

P50 service free extinguishers

Other than in schools, P50 extinguishers are also being installed in public and commercial offices. A district council in West Sussex with just over 50 of the P50 extinguishers has calculated that they will be making savings of around £20,000 over the next ten years.

p50 fire extinguishers

P50 extinguishers:

  • Are kitemarked to BS EN3, the British standard for fire extinguishers
  • Can be visually inspected easily by any person following a simple three step process so there are no annual service engineer costs
  • Are supplied with a 10 year manufacturer's warranty
  • Are constructed using an Aramid core, stainless steel and brass making them 100% corrosion proof
  • Are much lighter and stronger than standard extinguishers
  • San be refurbished after ten years extending their life by a further ten years
  • Are 100% recyclable at the end of their life

'Dry' water mist extinguishers

In basic terms, dry water mist is water in a super fine spray which is discharged from the extinguishers to form a mist curtain. Water mist uses de-ionised water but has wider firefighting capabilities than powder, water and foam!

It can therefore be utilised as a single appliance in areas where more than one type of fire extinguisher is currently deployed. The technology used by these extinguishers allows them to produce over 22 billion water droplets from only one litre of water. The droplets are as small as 25 microns in diameter and create an ultra-fine mist which has exceptional firefighting capabilities.


'Dry' water mist extinguishers:

  • Are capable of tackling almost all common fires including class A, B, C and electrical fires
  • Are safe and effective to be used on people and clothing fires
  • Create a 'mist curtain' cutting of the oxygen supply whilst protecting the user from the heat of a fire
  • Produce droplets so small that electricity cannot travel through them allowing them to be used around fires involving electrical equipment without risk to the user (safe for use on up to 1000 Volt at 1m distance)
  • Contain no chemicals so if used, for example, in a domestic science area there would be no contamination of any food in the vicinity
  • Are produced using a BAFE approved manufacturing process and have been tested to the highest standards achieving the Kitemark to BS EN3 certification
  • Are 100% recyclable
  • Dry water mist extinguishers cause the absolute minimum of damage to a property:

Case study: Safelincs customer Snoozebox provides flexible, portable hotel accommodation for major sporting events, music festivals, film and TV crews etc. A small fire broke out in a catering area when a croissant was left too long in a toaster. The 'dry' mist extinguisher immediately put out the fire and, after it had been PAT tested, the toaster was put back into service!

Selecting the appropriate extinguisher

The table below reflects guidelines produced by the Department of Education for the utilisation of fire extinguishers in schools. Our suggestions for how the P50 and 'dry' mist extinguishers might be applied as alternatives are shown in blue.

Please note that in October 2012 the relevant British Standard BS5306-8:2012 changed and certain recommendations by the Department of Education are now out of date. We have marked the now incorrect recommendations with strikethrough.

Extinguishers Type Locations

Water based (in general, one 13A rated extinguisher per 200 square metres, adjusted up or down depending on the types of risk, with a minimum of one two per floor).

P50 service-free foam extinguishers offer superior fire fighting capability (27A) in comparison to most foam extinguishers and therefore reduce the overall number of extinguishers. P50 foams also cover the electrical risks often covered in schools by additional CO2 extinguishers (in foam+CO2 fire points), further reducing the number of extinguishers needed.

'Dry' water mist extinguisher cover a wider range of risks than foam extinguishers and are capable of tackling electrical fires.

Both type of extinguishers can be used safely on electrical equipment (max 1000V and min 1m distance).

Craft rooms


Stages of every assembly hall

On escape routes, so that the walking distance to the nearest extinguisher does not exceed 30m


P50 service free foam extinguishers offer superior fire fighting capability (27A) in comparison to most foam extinguishers and therefore reduce the overall number of extinguishers. P50 foams also cover the electrical risks often covered in schools by additional CO2 extinguishers (in foam+CO2 fire points), further reducing the number of extinguishers needed.

Wet Chemical

Wet chemical extinguishers are the best way to extinguish class F fires involving cooking oils and fats.


Home economics rooms



We would only recommend powder extinguishers for boiler rooms. In particular P50 service free powder extinguisher would be suitable, as they have an exceptional fire fighting capability.

Boiler rooms where oil fuel is used

Carbon dioxide

CO2 extinguishers should only be used in exceptional circumstances, as they are not effective on most types of fires and can cause asphyxiation in small rooms (eg small computer rooms). We only recommend CO2 in server rooms and only if the risk of asphyxiation is considered.

P50 service free foams and the dry water mist extinguisher can be safely used instead of CO2 on electrical and computer equipment (max 1000V and min 1m safety distance).

Electrical switch rooms and places where live electrical equipment is known or thought to be present, eg, stage lighting control areas and IT classrooms

Dry powder

P50 service free dry powder extinguishers are suitable for larger vehicles. Individual people- carrying vehicles benefit from smaller powder extinguishers.

Vehicle protection

Fire blankets

Adjacent to fire extinguisher in kitchens, laboratories, design technology practical spaces and assembly halls

Sand buckets

Two in each laboratory adjacent to extinguishers

To discuss what would work for you, please give us a call on 0800 612 6537.

Fire extinguisher servicing

If you require fire extinguisher servicing our nationwide service is 100% transparent with clear pricing, no hidden charges and a one-off call out charge. All of our work is carried out in accordance to BS5306 and certified by BAFE certified engineers.

We have many satisfied customers of all sizes including:

  • INTEGRAL UK, one of the largest independent providers of property maintenance services in the UK. Jason Granger, Portfolio Supervisor, commented, "Using Safelincs to service extinguishers helps me keep control of costs. Everything is transparent and they are easy to do business with. I shall be using them to provide servicing on more Integral sites."
  • Metroline, a London bus company with a fleet of 1,682 buses. "We have a duty of care to ensure that our passengers remain safe," said Nik Phiniefs, Head Buyer for Metroline . "We selected Safelincs because they were very professional and totally transparent in their dealings. There are no hidden charges so we can accurately forecast our expenditure."
  • Holy Trinity and St Mary's parish churches, Guildford. "Safelincs is providing a positive, swift, reliable and, above all, honest service," says Parish Administrator Michèle Lyon. "The prices are clearly published and there are no hidden charges. Everything is transparent and I feel that I am in control of my costs now. Money is very tight everywhere at the moment and I am sure many other churches would benefit from the service they provide. I shall continue to use them."

Certifications and Awards

Safelincs has achieved numerous certifications and awards including:

  • Certification by the British Standards Institute (BSI) for the ISO9001 quality standard
  • Our extinguisher maintenance operation and engineers are certified by BAFE, the UK's certification body
  • Compliant with CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) and listed in the CHAS scheme database. This confirms our Health and Safety Systems and Policies conform to current legislation and gives all of our customers peace of mind when considering us for any contracts
  • Certification as an Investors in People organisation and recognised as a disability friendly employer, we have been awarded the 'Two Ticks' disability symbol
  • In 2009 we won the GoAward for Public Procurement Excellence and the Lincolnshire Business Award for Customer Care
  • In 2010 we finished as finalists in the Lincolnshire Business Award for Customer Care
  • In 2011 we were finalists for the Customer Care Award of the UK Warehousing Association


Reviewed: 28/02/2023 (doc:29 V1.1). 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.


Colour Scheme


Pricing Display



By continuing to browse this site you agree to the use of cookies.