The LWF Blog
Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire Extinguisher Siting – Part 9March 3, 2017 10:51 am
In this recent blog series for those people who work in Facilities Management, we have been looking at fire extinguishers – most recently in terms of their appearance, contents and how they should meet European Standards. In today’s blog, we going to discuss the siting of fire extinguishers within your buildings and how important this can be.
is the current British Standard which gives guidance on the siting of portable fire extinguishers and one of the most obvious requirements is that fire extinguishers are placed in fairly obvious locations, such as storey exits or in corridors and that each extinguisher should be wall mounted on brackets. In situations where wall mounting is not practical, it is possible to install floor stands but an extinguisher should not be free standing or propped against anything.
It’s not enough to simply place them near floor exits, there should be an extinguisher within 30m of a person within the building at any point, so that there is a relatively small distance for them to cover before reaching an extinguisher.
In addition to this, common sense would dictate that additional extinguishers which are designed for particular circumstances should be placed near to the potential source of that hazard. While it makes sense to place a CO2 extinguisher near to a photocopier, it is not practical to place an extinguisher near each desk that contains a computer. Therefore, where the use of a CO2 extinguisher is commonplace, it is preferable for these to be placed alongside the other (typically water/foam) extinguishers at the normal fire points near floor exits, or interspersed in a large open plan office.
BS EN 3-10:2009 – Portable fire extinguishers. Provisions for evaluating the conformity of a portable fire extinguisher to EN 3-7 states that extinguishers should be marked with a rating which demonstrates the maximum size of test fire they have been successfully used upon, by a trained operator. It is possible through the Class A and B ratings given to work out the number of extinguishers which would be required in a given area.
BS 5306, mentioned previously, states that the aggregate Class A rating of extinguishers in an area should comprise 0.065 x floor area in square metres. The aggregate rating of all extinguishers in one storey should not be less than 26A, with the only exception being in cases of single occupancy where the floor area is less than 100m2. Conversely, in a large building area, where fire hoses are provided, it may be acceptable to reduce the amount of Class A rated extinguishers. It is however noted that fire hose reels are less commonly relied upon and should be subject to a specific risk assessment.
In the next blog of this series, we will look at Fire Blankets and Hose Reels before moving onto staff training. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.
Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.