The role of a fire extinguisher

The role of a fire extinguisher

It’s essential that, as individuals and businesses, we don’t underestimate the true value of fire extinguishers

Installed within businesses (by professionals like to keep everyone and everything safe, fire extinguishers allow you to take charge and control smaller fires and risks as required.

HSE fire extinguishers are also a piece of fire prevention equipment that is a legal requirement of the Health and Safety Executive, where employees and visitors have the means to protect themselves in the event of a fire.

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Fire alarm systems

Commercial environments must be compliant with all health and safety guidelines and procedures at all times, and this includes having sufficient fire safety equipment available.

Available to safeguard people and premises.

The Fire Safety Order 2005 covers all general fire and safety in England and Wales, outlining an employee’s and property owner’s responsibility for the expected behaviours and procedures that we must adopt.

These procedures look at the reasonable steps you are taking to reduce the risk of fire and ensuring the right equipment is in place to support a safe evacuation. This includes having items of fire safety equipment deemed appropriate and suitable for your premises, such as fire extinguishers and fire detectors and alarms.

It is the responsibility of the Fire and Rescue authorities to enforce safety legislation, carrying out regular checks on-premises and properties to ensure everything is in order and things such as commercial alarm monitoring and fire extinguishers are all in good working order.

The importance of fire extinguishers in the workplace

Most commercial fires start accidentally, i.e., a cooking accident, electricals overheating, papers catching fire, etc. With over half of these accidents occurring during office hours.

In fact, reports over the years have highlighted that fire extinguishers put out more workplace fires than fire and rescue services!

These are integral pieces of fire safety equipment.

Fire extinguishers have a high success rate, preventing potentially severe fires from breaking out or at the very least allowing people to contain and control the situation until the fire and rescue team are on site.

However, please note, fire extinguishers should only ever be used on small fires; for large blazes, the appropriate emergency services should be called. You must also have the right fire extinguisher situated in the right place, with staff trained on how to use such pieces of equipment.

Health and Safety fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers provide a quick and immediate response to help control fires and prevent them from causing further damage. However, there is no one-size-fits-all with fire extinguishers.

As a fire can ignite from various sources, you will require multiple fire extinguishers to tackle each.

The type of fire extinguisher is specified according to the fire risk that is identified in that location.

For example:

  • Class A fires are associated with wood, paper, and textiles and require a water extinguisher.
  • Class A and B fires come from flammable liquids; hence they would require a foam extinguisher.
  • CO2 units work well in B classifications, i.e., electrical fires.
  • Class A, B, and C fires found from solids, liquids, and gases, would be best solved with a dry powder extinguisher.

Ultimately, you should have the right fire extinguisher according to the materials and equipment found on the premises. A robust fire risk assessment will help you to identify the best fire extinguishers for you and if multiple extinguishers are required.

Fire safety equipment maintenance

It is your responsibility to protect fire prevention equipment from damage, vandalism, theft, etc. For those pieces of equipment that are stored outside, they must also be protected from the elements.

In these instances, cabinets and stands can help; however, please bear in mind these must be easily located and identifiable. They must also be legally compliant – a professional fire safety expert will be able to check your equipment for you and provide you with advice and solutions where and if required.

If fire extinguishers aren’t correctly maintained, you run the very real risk of extinguishers failing to operate when you need them most.

Maintenance can include, for example, checking that the safety pin in the extinguisher hasn’t corroded and can still be used.

Annual checks should be carried out by a trained fire extinguisher technician who can clean, lubricate, and replace safety pins and any other components, as necessary.

At UK Red Security, we follow the 20-point check before we deem a fire extinguisher fit for use. Helping to identify those at the end of their life, so you avoid having an extinguisher on your premises that no longer works!

Under the Fire Order, the guidance states that fire safety equipment must be suitably maintained and serviced to keep items in an efficient state and good working order – making maintenance of fire equipment paramount for any organisation.

Fire alarm maintenance contract

As well as carrying out regular reviews and maintenance of your fire alarms and fire extinguishers you must also ensure that any fire prevention equipment is provided and installed to a British Standard, i.e., it should be:

  • Manufactured to BS EN3
  • Installed with BS 5306 part 8.
  • Serviced to BS 5306 part 3.

Knowledge of these codes is essential, making finding a team you can trust, professionals, and experts in their field, vital.

A team like UK Red Security, who can provide you with confidence that your fire alarm systems are in good working order, always.

To find out more and understand how we can help you stay fire safe and compliant, call us today on 0113 265 9790.

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