How Many Fire Extinguishers Should a Business Have on Site?
To keep staff, visitors and assets safe, it makes sense that all businesses and organisations should have the means to tackle a fire should one break out on their commercial premises. Even more than that, however, it’s also a legal requirement.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that ‘appropriate fire-fighting equipment’ must be provided and that ‘any non-automatic fire-fighting equipment so provided is easily accessible, simple to use and indicated by signs’.
What the Fire Safety Order doesn’t tell us is how many or what kinds of fire extinguishers should be installed. We’ve looked before at the different types of fire extinguishers and their uses, but this article will examine the less common question of how many fire extinguishers a business should have on site.
How many fire extinguishers are required in business premises?
As with many aspects of fire safety in the workplace, what measures you need to put in place – in terms of both fire detection and fire control – will be dictated by the results of your fire risk assessment.
That means that the person carrying out the assessment will make recommendations, based upon the particular fire risks existing at your premises, as to how many extinguishers are appropriate and where they should be placed.
Having said that, BS 5306-8 2012 does give a little more guidance by recommending a minimum of two Class A extinguishers on each floor of commercial premises, unless the building is particularly small, in which case one on each floor should be enough. Class A extinguishers are used on combustible materials such as paper, cardboard, fabrics, wood and plastics.
How often should fire extinguishers be checked?
Of course, it’s not enough to put in the recommended number of fire extinguishers and then – as long as there isn’t a fire in the meantime – just forget about them.
Every year, you’ll need to carry out a fresh fire risk assessment – this will determine whether the situation at your premises has changed at all, and whether the number of fire extinguishers recommended the previous year is still sufficient.
Every year, you’ll also need to have the extinguishers you do have serviced to make sure they are still in good working order.
Failure to follow either of these fire safety procedures would represent a serious breach of the Fire Safety Order.
Hoyles Fire & Safety supplies, installs and maintains fire extinguishers for all kinds of businesses in and around Leeds, Huddersfield and Bradford. We can also carry out fire risk assessments at your commercial premises to establish your requirements for fire extinguishers of all types.
By Hoyles Fire and Safety Ltd