Selecting the Correct Fire Extinguisher from NFEX
A fire extinguisher can safeguard your home or business from the risk of fire. Having suitable extinguishers in the workplace is required by the Fire Risk Assessment Guides issued by the government and usually your insurance. Fire extinguishers are estimated to save the UK economy £500 million each year in avoided damages and injuries so are worth the small investment for a business giving also peace of mind. This information section provides information on the different types of extinguisher commonly available so you can make an informed choice about what type is best for your building's particular risks.
There are five types or classes of extinguisher, each of which is good for extinguishing specific types of fire. The different types come in the form of: water, foam, dry powder, CO2 (carbon dioxide) and wet chemical.
Water is the most common and most economical type of extinguisher. It can extinguish flammable solid fires such as hay, wood, paper, sugar and coal. This type of fire is known as class A.
An AFFF foam extinguisher is also suitable for extinguishing flammable solids but also extinguishes flammable liquid fires including paint, petrol, and diesel fires. Flammable liquid fires are known as class B fires. They are not suitable for cooking fat fires!
Dry powder extinguishers are suitable for multi purpose risks. They can put out flammable solid fires, liquid and gas fires as well as electrical fires. In terms of fire classes, a dry powder fire extinguisher can extinguish class A, B, C and electrical fires. Again they cannot be used on pan fires or deep fat fryer fires.
A CO2 extinguisher is capable of extinguishing flammable liquid fires and is the best type for safety extinguishing electrical fires. Do not use on pan fires and fat fires.
A wet chemical extinguisher is a ground-breaking new kind of fire extinguisher which is capable of extinguishing cooking fat fires. They are made to protect against the deep fat fryer fires that potentially exist in restaurant kitchens, cafes, chip shops etc. In terms of fire class, a wet chemical extinguisher is capable of extinguishing class B and Class F fires.
It is recommended that you inspect your fire protection equipment at least monthly and record the information in your fire log book. During this check you should inspect the extinguishers for any signs of damage, tampering or use, check that they are not obstructed and the operating instructions are visible and facing outwards so anybody who needs to use it quickly can see the user instructions.
BAFE certified extinguisher engineer should service your fire extinguishers at least once a year. This service should comply with British Standard 5306 part 3 to service any fire extinguisher you may have. Ask us for competitive nationwide extinguisher servicing.
Fire needs four components to exist; heat for the flammable substance to reach its ignition temperature, combustible material (fuel), oxygen to maintain combustion and the chemical reaction between the three previously mentioned factors. Fire extinguishers work by applying an extinguishing agent that either cools the burning fuel, displaces the oxygen, or stops the chemical reaction so a fire cannot carry on burning.
Choose the best location for your Fire Extinguisher
You should site your fire extinguishers in a place where you can see them clearly and reach them quickly in an emergency. Preferably on an exit route or close to a particular risk. Your extinguisher should be fitted to the wall about 1 metre from the ground and should have an extinguisher identification sign mounted above it.
You should inspect your fire extinguishers at least monthly for signs of damage, discharge or tampering. Report any such occurrences to your local servicing company. A BAFE approved extinguisher servicing company should inspect and certify your extinguishers at least annually. Both monthly and annual extinguisher inspections should be recorded in your fire log book as evidence of your fire safety equipment checks.
Although our fire extinguishers are sold at rock bottom prices, all extinguishers supplied by our site are CE approved, kitemarked and manufactured to BS EN3 so you can buy with confidence and rest assured that all equipment has undergone stringent, independent testing. See our extinguisher page for more details.
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