How Many Fire Extinguishers Should I Have and What Types?

How Many Fire Extinguishers Should I Have and What Types?

As a general rule, it is advised that you have at least one water-based fire extinguisher per 2000 square feet per floor. In addition to this, because most workplaces now have electrical equipment which cannot be extinguished with water-based extinguishers if it catches fire, you should also pair each water-based extinguisher with a CO2 one.

Powder extinguishers used to be the go-to fire extinguisher for many businesses as they are suitable for a wide range of fire types. However, they are recommended less and less due to them producing a large amount of residue which not only restricts vision while evacuating a building, but also covers the immediate area with a fine coating of powder which requires a great deal of clean-up.

However, because businesses work with different materials that react differently when they catch fire, it may be required that your business will need extra extinguishers to comply with fire safety regulations. See below for a comprehensive list of types of fire extinguishers:

Type of Fire Extinguisher

Purpose

Water

(Red Label)

  • Good for organic solid materials such as wood, cloth, paper or plastic
  • Not to be used on burning fat, oil, or electricals

Water Spray

(Red Label)

  • Good for organic solid materials such as wood, cloth, paper or plastic
  • Not to be used on burning fat, oil, or electricals

Water Mist

(Red on White Label)

  • Good for organic solid materials such as wood, cloth, paper or plastic
  • Can be used on burning fat and oil, some can be used in electrical fires
  • Suitable for all fires except Class D (burning metals)

Powder

(Blue Label)

  • Can be used on organic solids and liquids except for chip fat or fat pan fires
  • Can be used on gas fires
  • Can be used on electrical equipment, but isn’t effective at cooling so the fire can re-ignite
  • Not recommended for use in enclosed spaces because powder can be inhaled

Dry Powder

(Blue Label)

  • Designed to fight fires involving combustible metals (magnesium, sodium, lithium, aluminium)

Foam (AFF)

(Cream Label)

  • For fires involving burning solids and liquids such as paint or petrol, but not suitable for chip fat or fat pan fires.

CO2

(Black Label)

  • For use on live electrical equipment, but allows the re-ignition of hot plastics
  • Can cause asphyxiation if used in confined spaces

Wet Chemical

(Yellow Label)

  • Ideal for fires involving burning cooking fats and oils
  • Not usually recommended for petrol fires

 

From the list, you can see that a catering business where employees do a lot of cooking may need a wet chemical fire extinguisher where there are deep fat fryers, whereas an IT company with large servers will need CO2 extinguishers installed to combat an electrical fire. A properly conducted risk assessment will tell you what kinds of fire extinguishers you should have installed in your premises.

For more information on fire extinguishers, or to book a Free Review, call on 0844 8797286.

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