How Many Fire Extinguishers Are Required in a Business Premises?
July 22nd, 2022
Last updated: July 30th, 2022
Every single business has a responsibility to make sure that staff and visitors on site are in a safe environment, and this includes ensuring that adequate fire precautions and suppression systems are in place. In most businesses, this means that there are fire extinguishers installed. How many fire extinguishers are required in a business premises? We explore more in this guide.
Well, though it may not be the simple answer you had hoped for, we would say “as many as required”.
Luckily, we won’t end the advice there. Below, we delve into some of the different information you need to consider and how this will affect the fire suppression system you have in place, and the emergency measures you can install in case the worst should happen and something causes a fire on the premises.
The Importance of a Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment is the most crucial piece of documentation and information you need, and it informs every aspect of your fire system.
“Fire Safety in the Workplace” guidance, issued by the government in the UK, states that you have to have a fire risk assessment and that it must be carried out by a competent person. This means if you do not have somebody who is fully trained to deal with fire, with qualifications such as BAFE accreditations.
Within this document, the number of fire extinguishers you need in your business will be outlined, and it is your responsibility to make sure you stick within the guidelines.
The British Safety fire extinguisher regulations BS 5306-8 2012 also has some guidelines for businesses. They advise a minimum of two Class A fire extinguishers installed on every floor of a building, unless the premises are particularly small. 3, 6, or 9 litre water extinguishers are commonly used.
This guidance is very much a rule of thumb and should not be treated as gospel. For example, if the square footage of a floor in your business is particularly large, two fire extinguishers may be far from enough.
Do I Need Fire Extinguishers?
As well as asking “how many fire extinguishers do I need in my office?” or other commercial buildings, you may also need to ask the question of whether fire extinguishers are the system you are going to utilise. The answer might not be straightforward.
There are other options, and a fire sprinkler system is a good idea in a number of scenarios, too. These can be linked to fire alarms, meaning that they can deploy as soon as they are needed automatically to stop the fire spreading and to put out the fire altogether.
Fire extinguishers are much simpler to install and they are much cheaper. So, in many situations this might be preferable. For example, if you have a small shop and you don’t have a large surface area to consider (and if your fire hazards are relatively controllable) then it could be that a small fire extinguisher or two is enough.
Keeping Fire Extinguishers in Good Condition
Your legal responsibilities go far beyond just having the fire extinguishers in place. It’s not enough to install the system and forget about it. Instead, you need to continually maintain the fire extinguisher system and any other fire safety systems in your business.
Fire extinguisher maintenance and servicing by a competent professional must be carried out at least once a year, and often more frequently if you want to ensure the utmost in safety standards.
The maintenance schedule can be outlined in your fire risk assessment, too, so you can see what a vital document this is.
As well as professional checks, it pays to make some simple visual checks yourself, checking there are no obvious breakages, anti-tamper seals are intact, and that the pressure levels are within the correct range. Of course, fire extinguishers also need to be visible to people nearby and clearly labelled so that people know how to use them.
Professional Fire Systems Advice
Not many people who start businesses have the precise knowledge they need to ensure that their premises are within fire regulations. That’s why most choose to leave it to the professionals, ensuring that both the risk assessment is up to scratch and that fire systems are fit for purpose.
Robinsons Facilities Services can work with your business to create a simple planned preventative maintenance schedule. This means that you have peace of mind, knowing that there are regular checks booked for your system.
Robinsons Facilities Services can work with your Yorkshire-based business to maintain fire extinguishers and other fire safety systems within the legal requirements. We can also provide you with a fire risk assessment to help you identify any other fire safety measures that you may need to put in place.
For more information about our fire safety services, contact us today.
Working across Yorkshire, we cover North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and offer a fast, efficient response time to all breakdowns and repairs. Contact us today for all planned, reactive maintenance or emergency call out. Call 01423 226578 or get in touch to see how Robinsons Facilities Services can help.