Number & type of extinguishers

Fire fighting equipment and facilities

You have responsibility for the provision of appropriate firefighting equipment. It is also your responsibility to check that all firefighting equipment is in the correct position and in satisfactory order before the premises are used. Appropriate staff should be trained in the use of all such equipment.

Fires are classed according to what is burning. Fire extinguishers should be appropriate to the classes of fire in your premises, for further information follow the links below;

Class A: Fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles.
Class B: Fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel or oils.
Class C: Fires involving gases
Class D: Fires involving metals
Class F: Fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers.

Number and type of fire extinguishers

Typically for the class A fire risk, the provision of one water-based extinguisher for approximately every 200m2 of floor space, with a minimum of two extinguishers per floor, will normally be adequate.

Where it is determined that there are additionally other classes of fire risk, the appropriate type, number and size of extinguisher should be provided.

Check out how many fire extinguishers you need with our fire extinguisher calculator On-Line extinguisher calculator

Where the fire risk is not confined to a particular location, e.g. Class A fires, the fire extinguishers should be positioned on escape routes, close to the exit from the room or floor, or the final exit from the building. Similarly, where the particular fire risk is specifically located, e.g. flammable liquids, the appropriate fire extinguisher should be near to the hazard, and located so that it can be safely used.

They should be placed on a dedicated stand or hung on a wall at a convenient height so that employees can easily lift them off (at about 1m for larger extinguishers, 1.5m for smaller ones, to the level of the handle). Ideally no one should have to travel more than 30m to reach a fire extinguisher. If there is a risk of malicious use you may need to use alternative, and more secure locations.

Consider the implications of the manual handling operations regulation 1992 when selecting and siting firefighting equipment, or for further assistance please contact us. Where there are self-contained small premises, multi-purpose extinguishers which can cover a range of risks may be appropriate. Depending on the outcome of your fire risk assessment, it may be possible to reduce this to one extinguisher in very small premises with a floor space of less than 90m2.

Extinguishers manufactured to current standards (BS EN 3-7) are predominately red but may have a colour-coded area, sited above or within the instructions, denoting the type of extinguisher. Most older extinguishers, manufactured to previous standards, have bodies painted entirely in a single colour which donates the type of extinguisher. These older extinguishers remain acceptable until they are no longer serviceable. However, it is good practice to ensure that old and new style extinguishers are not mixed on the same floor of a building.