All premises should be provided with a means for fighting fires that can be easily and safely used by the occupants. In deciding the appropriate type and quantity of such equipment, consideration should be given to the size of the building and the nature of the materials likely to be found there.
It must be remembered that extinguishers are provided primarily for use by suitably trained persons to tackle a fire in its early stages. New fire extinguishers must conform to British Standard EN3.
Where possible, all portable fire fighting equipment should be grouped to form a fire point. The fire point should be clearly indicated so that it can be readily identified. In premises that are uniform in layout extinguishers should, whenever possible, be located at the same point on each floor.
If for any reason extinguishers are placed in positions hidden from direct view their position should be indicated by suitable signs, as described in BS 5499: Parts 1 and 3.
No person should have to travel more than 30 metres from the site of a fire to reach a fire extinguisher.
The basic provision of extinguishers within a building should be one extinguisher, of at least 13A rating, for every 200m2 of floor area, or part thereof, with at least two per floor. However, for those buildings where an upper floor area is less than 100m2, one single 13A rated extinguisher may be acceptable on each floor. Should the premises contain risks from flammable liquids, then B rated extinguishers should be provided. Under normal circumstances a 34B rated extinguisher would equate to a 13A in this respect.
Extinguishers should be sited in conspicuous positions where they are visible to anyone using an escape route.
- They should be mounted on brackets fixed to the wall.
- They should be mounted with the handle no more than 1m from the floor. (Circumstances may dictate variations from this recommendation).
- Smaller and more easily handled extinguishers may be mounted with the handle about 1.5m from the floor level.
- Suitably constructed floor cradles may be acceptable in certain locations.
- With special risks, extinguishers should be grouped conveniently where any user will not be placed in danger whilst attempting to use them.
- Other suitable positions include near exits to rooms or storeys, corridors or lobbies, stairways and landings.
- Extinguishers should not be sited behind doors or inaccessible positions such as deep recesses or in cupboards.
- It is also necessary to consider their exposure to extremes of heat or cold, and accidental damage during the normal day-to-day use of the premises.
- Where theft and vandalism is a problem, they may be located in secure areas, but always under the supervision of trained staff. They may also be fitted with an alarm.
BTS supplies maintenance and products to ensure that the facility is protected to BS5266
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