Managing fire safety in the workplace has always been an important topic and part of complying with the standards set out by health and safety legislation, while by having the correct fire extinguishers to hand you’re not only protecting your staff but premises and equipment too.
Before selecting the type(s) of extinguishers required it is important to carry out a fire risk assessment of the workplace. Using the Work Process Fire Safety Guidance and British Standard 5306-8:2000 along with your and your employees’ knowledge to identify fire hazards, thoroughly assess all working areas including those outdoors while noting down any high risk processes or possible sources of ignition.
After completing the assessment you will be ready to decide upon on the types and quantity of fire extinguishers that need to be ordered. The following types of fire extinguishers are now available in various different sizes.
Water Extinguishers – Water fire extinguishers are the most widely used and cheapest type of extinguisher but only suitable for Class ‘A’ solid fires (papers, wood, plastic etc) NOT for use on electrical equipment.
Foam Extinguishers – More versatile then water extinguishers foam fire extinguishers can be used on solid and flammable liquids.
Dry Powder Extinguishers – Dry powder fire extinguishers can be used on flammable solids such as paper, wood and plastic while also for use on electrical equipment and flammable liquids.
Co2 Extinguishers – Carbon dioxide (Co2) fire extinguishers are for use on fires involving live electrical apparatus. It will also extinguish flammable liquids such as paraffin, petrol and oil but not for use on solids (papers, wood, plastic etc)
This information is provided for guidance purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the purposes of a fire risk assessment, please refer to British Standard 5306-8:2000