FIre Extinguishers

We’ve been supplying and servicing fire extinguishers for over 50 years.

THE BASICS, WHAT IS A FIRE EXTINGUISHER?

A fire extinguisher is a portable device that can be used to control or put out small fires in emergency situations.

Extinguishers are found in almost every commercial setting. Domestic settings, general fire escape areas and additional risk areas should have extinguishers.

Fire extinguishers are now almost always stored pressure containers. This means that the cylinder is filled with the necessary extinguishing agent and then pressurised. The pressure can be shown via the gauge on the headset.

The five most common extinguisher types are water, carbon dioxide (CO2), foam, powder and wet chemical. Other extinguisher types can be used to tackle more specific or unique risks.

Commonly, water or water-based foam extinguishers will be situated in most buildings. These extinguishers can be used to tackle fires caused by combustible materials such as paper, wood, fabric, etc.

Further “risk” extinguishers are then placed to cover any presented risks, like electrical installations.

Do I need fire extinguishers for my business?

Any business with 5 or more employee’s needs a Fire Risk Assessment completing by law. Your fire risk assessment will outline the types of extinguishers your business needs depending on the potential risks.

If you’re still unsure book a free, no obligation consultation with one of our Fire Protection Consultants. They’ll be able to advise you on what you need to protect your business.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN TYPES OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS?

There are five main fire extinguisher types:

Foam: Suitable for Class A and B fires, some with limited electrical clearance

CO₂ or Carbon Dioxide: Suitable for Class B and fires involving electrical items

Dry Powder: Suitable for Class A, B, C and electrical equipment

Wet Chemical: Suitable for Class A and F fires

Water: Suitable for Class A fires

 

Fire extinguishers are colour coded so you can identify them quickly and easily in an emergency.

A change to a European standard some years ago, meant that almost all units are predominantly red with 5% being coloured to identify the type of extinguisher.

Water

Red with white writing

Foam

Cream band

CO₂

Black band

Powder

Blue band

Wet chemical

Yellow band

Classifications of Fires

As per the above, different types of extinguishers cover varying fires. Extinguishers are assigned letters that denote what the classification is.

A class, is covering carbonous materials like wood, paper etc.

B class, flammable liquids like petrol and liquifiable solids like wax, melting plastics

C class, covers flammable gasses, propane as an example

D class, specialist powders used for metals that burn, potassium as an example

F class, this is for mineral fats, like chip fryers

Electrical risk, though not a classification, it is included in the risk category

What Fire Extinguisher Should not be used in Confined Spaces?

When tackling a fire in a confined space, there are concerns raised in the British Standards that both carbon dioxide extinguishers and dry powder can cause asphyxiation due to sudden changes in oxygen levels. Dry powder extinguishers are also known to cause both respiratory problems and can cause a drastic reduction in visibility, both impeding escape from a fire.

Relevant Accretitations & Certifications

Wherever possible we will always try to ensure that our work is accredited by an independent third party. This means you can be sure of a quality service with OHEAP Fire & Security.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD FIRE EXTINGUISHERS BE CHECKED?

Ensure your fire extinguisher is always ready when you need it by checking it regularly. Monthly in-house checks should be conducted. We ensure that it is sited correctly, still has an anti-tamper device fitted and any gauge is reading correctly, is carried out and recorded

All extinguishers require a service by a professional company, once per year. Each extinguishing unit is tested in line with the current British Standards (5306) and certificated. Extinguishers will be proven as compliant, BSI certificated and third party accredited. BAFE engineers are aware of all of the requirements necessary to meet compliance.

Every fifth year an extended service is required for fire extinguishers. This is commonly known as a discharge test and refill. The extended service isn’t required for carbon dioxide extinguishers.

Extended servicing involves safely ejecting the agent inside, replacing the agent, replacing the seals within the unit and an then an internal examination is carried out.

There are very few companies that actually carry out this function on site. OHEAP Fire and Security is one of the few companies that do carry out these tests onsite. This means we can dispose of the old extinguishing agent in a safe, environmentally friendly, manner and saves you the cost of buying brand new units.

Annual Servicing

In line with the below British Standard and in line with the Regulatory reform act (2005) regarding Fire risk assessments, extinguishers require certification annually. One of our certificated engineers will attend site and carry out this service and advise on compliance.

Carried out by BAFE accredited engineers

Serviced inline with British Standard 5306.3.2009

Servicing done On-Site on a day of your choosing

Carried out discreetly with minimum disruption to your day.

Extended Servicing

Every fifth year, all extinguishers, except the co2 range, require an extended service. This is in line with the current British Standard. This is where the extinguisher is discharged to, both, ensure correct operation and for the extinguisher medium to be changed. Very few companies have the ability to carry this out at site and replacement units are often quoted instead.

Extends the life of your extinguishers

More environmentally friendly

More cost effective for you

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR USING A FIRE EXTINGUISHER?

A designated person should be responsible for ensuring that the external maintenance and in–house checks are undertaken.

It is also advised that regular fire safety training is incorporated annually to ensure staff are both aware of their responsibility and kept up to date with any changes of extinguishers or lay out.

This training needs to cover fire escapes, fire drills and the correct use of extinguishers.

How do you use a Fire Extinguisher?

To use a fire extinguisher, first identify the type of fire it is safe to be used upon. All extinguishers are used in a similar way:

Pull the safety pin.

Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handles at the top of the extinguisher.

This should result in the extinguisher agent being expelled. Move the nozzle in a sweeping motion from side to side until the fire is extinguished.

 

P.A.S.S (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep)

Remember, you should not attempt to extinguish a fire unless you feel confident doing so. If in doubt, evacuate the building and call the fire brigade.

Other Services

Fire Alarms

Our team of accredited experts will assess your premises and design a system suited for your requirements and budget. 

Emergency Lighting

A correctly designed and well maintained emergency lighting system could prove vital for your staff in the event of a fire. 

Fire Suppression Systems

Our uniquely designed systems are one of the most effective ways to protect your business from fire.