How many fire extinguishers are required on business premises?
Health and safety restrictions are becoming more critical than ever as we have progressed throughout the last few years. A business must carry out a range of checks to make it fit for purpose on the ground. It can be the difference between life and death. Some health and safety restrictions require training for staff members, while others require physical equipment that can be used to prevent disaster.
There are a considerable amount of commercial fires in the UK each year, almost 20,000. This demonstrates the importance of fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and general safety daily. Nothing can be left undone. With the correct equipment, you are guaranteeing the safety of yourself and your staff.
Fire certainly cannot be underestimated. Within businesses, it has and will no doubt continue to cause devastation. First, it is essential to start with prevention rather than cure and fire extinguishers fit into both categories, with the ability to stop blazes in their tracks and put out large fires that have already broken out. It is international guidance to fit fire extinguishers and blankets where possible.
Throughout this article, we will discuss the necessary precautions that you must put in place for your business premises—covering why and where you need a range of extinguishers as well as the different types of extinguishers available, including foam, water and more.
Current requirements for business premises
To start off, we will cover the regulations that are currently recommended and enforced in your premises. Two Class A fire extinguishers on each level of your building are needed unless the premises are very small.
Next, if you run a business that has huge server rooms or electrical equipment, you are at a higher risk of a fire starting. Electrical fires are more dangerous than standard fires. All premises with electrical equipment are a lot more premises than you think – Computers are included within ‘electrical equipment’ forcing you to have at least a 2 kilo CO2 extinguisher, sizing increases if you have more substantial electrical equipment.
Suppose you do require a large scale operation. In that case, you will probably have a health and safety officer or a dedicated member of staff who can give more information on the exact requirements for your business!
If you have sprinklers in place within your workplace, then you can count yourself lucky. They are extremely effective at tackling fires and this can lead to you needing less on the ground. Specialist extinguishers may be required if your place of work is considered a higher risk. Dry powder for Class C fires in boiler rooms and wet chemical extinguishers for kitchens Class F should be positioned within easy reach of the specific fire hazard.
Now, we can take a look at the extinguisher categories in place. A range of categories cover all the potential types of fires your business premises could see.
Fire and extinguisher categories
There are 6 classes within the UK for fire extinguishers, and they all tackle a different type of blazes:
Class A, combustible carbon-based solids, eg paper – Use water, water mist, foam, dry powder, wet chemical
Class B, flammable liquids, e.g. paraffin, petrol, diesel or oil (but not cooking oil) – Use water mist, foam, dry powder, CO2, some wet chemical.
Class C, flammable gases, e.g. butane, propane or methane – Use water mist, dry powder.
Class D, burning metals, e.g. aluminium, lithium or magnesium – Use specialist dry powder.
Fires caused by electrical equipment – Use some water mist, some foam, CO2
Class F, fats and cooking oils – Use water mist, wet chemical
We cannot stress how important it is that you get the right extinguisher to tackle a certain blaze. If you use the wrong one, you can make the fire worse and endanger yourself and staff.
Identifying which extinguishers you need for your premises should be relatively simple, there are small signs that can also be purchased and displayed against the wall in order to demonstrate to staff members how to use the extinguisher and which one in particular to deploy depending on the type of fire that is occurring.
Training on how to use these extinguishers should also be provided to staff members. Setting a designated assembly point in the case of a fire is also essential, but the priority should be stopping the fire as quickly as possible using the right classification of a fire extinguisher. It is also worth having a few test runs to make sure all the team understands how to react when a fire breaks out.
Now we have covered all the fire extinguishers and their uses within the premises of your business, we hope you have a clearer idea of the relevant safety precautions you must take to keep your office and workplace safe.
You can look into fire safety equipment here.
Other useful links from our knowledge centre:
Running a Business from Home
Why Do Businesses Need Finance?
Who Pays Business Rates?
Remember to Compare Your Business Costs is here to help your business every step of the way from business advice, or saving you time and money on your business purchases such as: