Unicorn -Looking After the Midlands Fire Extinguishers
Skills & experience you can rely on;
Unicorn Extinguishers is part of the Unicorn fire & safety solutions company. You can visit our sister site to see what other services we can provide by clicking on the link..
Unicorn Extinguishers has a very simple business ethic; We are committed to delivering-
- the highest level of professionalism
- at the lowest possible price, and
- with the best possible quality of customer service
Our friendly staff are amongst the most experienced and qualified in the UK.
All have many years of field experience with Local Authority Fire Brigades and as independent Extinguisher Technicians.
We are accredited by;
Highfield’s Awarding body for Compliance;
We are accredited by Qualsafe
The Institute of Fire Safety Managers
The Institution of Fire Engineers
The Fire Prevention Association
The Institute of Fire Prevention Officers
The British Fire Service Association
The National Association for Safety & Health in Care Services
All our technicians are fully qualified and are Enhanced DBS checked
So confident are we that you will be delighted with our services,
we offer a no-quibble guarantee. If you are genuinely dissatisfied,
then we would not expect you to pay!
Your Questions Answered
Does my workplace need fire extinguishers?
Government guide lines suggest that even a one room shop should have a least one extinguisher. So the answer is - Yes, your business does need fire extinguishers. It is a legal requirement for every UK business to carry out a fire risk assessment and this should determine your needs in regards to; how many and what type are required for your specific workplace.
What sort of fire extinguishers do I need?
To some extent, this depends on the type of business you undertake, but firstly let’s consider the different types of fires:
This includes wood, paper, plastics and most carbonaceous materials.
So a waste paper basket fire is likely to be Class A.
Extinguishers that are suitable to tackle a Class A fire will carry a logo showing the letter A and a pictogram of a bonfire.
A Class B fire refers to flammable liquids such as paints, oils and spirit,
Firefighting apparatus safe to use on this type of incident will bear a symbol showing the letter B and a pictogram of a Gerry Can.
This includes fire involving flammable gasses such as propane, butane, mains gas etc.
A symbol showing a pictogram of a gas ring together with letter C will displayed on the extinguisher if it is designed to tackle a Class C fire.
Some metals such as swarf, wire wool may burn. Specialist extinguishers are required where this risk exists. These would display the Leter D with a pictogram of metal filings.
Where an extinguisher displays the electrical symbol, it can safely be used on live electrical fires.
In commercial kitchens, it may be necessary fir have extinguisher specifically designed to deal with intense fat and cooking oil fires.
The symbol for these is a letter F and a pictogram of a frying pan.
Types of Extinguishers
These can only be used on Class A fires.
They tackle the fire by reducing the temperature of the fuel below its ignition temperature.
Foam extinguisher work by smothering the fire depriving it of the oxygen it requires.
Such extinguishers can be used on Class A and Class B fires.
Dry Powder Extinguishers
Dry Powder is a multi class extinguisher. It is suitable for Class A, B, C and Electrical fires.
It works by smothering the fire in a fine powder.
Carbon Dioxide or C2 Extinguishers
Carbon Dioxide smothers the fire and has the advantage that it leaves no trace.
Its principle use is B Class Fires and those involving electricity.
Wet Agent Extinguishers
One of the newer types of extinguishers designed for use in commercial kitchens.
These generate a very robust foam to smother hot fat fires.
They are for Class A and F type incidents.
Fire Blankets have traditionally been provided in kitchens to tackle fires involving cooking oils etc.
But how many do I need?
The number and type of fire extinguishers you require is not always easy to gauge and depends on the nature of your business and the risks involved. The best way to evaluate these is to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment which forms part of your legal obligation as a business owner.
As a general rule, each floor will need one water-based extinguisher such as water, water additive or foam (3 litre or bigger) for every 200 square metres of floor space.
The correct number of water extinguishers to tackle Class A fires (fires involving combustible solids such as paper, wood, cloth, plastics etc) can be determined by finding the fire rating of the floor area.
The extinguisher will have its fire rating displayed on it. This will be found near the top of the label on any approved extinguisher and is usually 13A, 21A or 34A depending on its size and in some occasion’s chemical additives.
The fire rating required is found by multiplying the floor area in metres squared (m²) by 0.065. Therefore for a floor area of 200m² the fire rating is 200 x 0.065 = 13A., i.e. 1 x 13A rated water or foam extinguisher.
Other factors to take into account are that a person should not have to:
Travel more than 25 metres to get to a fire extinguisher
Go through more than two doors to get to an extinguishers
Go to a different floor level to find an extinguisher
For special risks such as fires involving live electrical equipment, a suitable extinguisher should be provided, carbon dioxide or dry powder, near to the risk or at least within a reasonable distance (less than 30m) usually placed next to the water extinguishers required.
Where should I site them?
The positioning of your fire extinguishers is very important as every second counts in an emergency. Remember, the person trying to find them may not be familiar with your premises.
For most buildings, the best place to site your extinguishers is by the main entrance as this would also be the main exit which makes it an obvious place to find firefighting equipment.
Don’t hide them behind screens, doors or displays. If they can’t be found they are next to useless.
Other places to locate them are at fire exit doors and top and/or bottom of stairs. In essence, they should be on fire exit routes whilst not obstructing the route itself.
In addition to the main fire points you may have specific risks such as a kitchen, a server room, a mains electrical intake, or a machine.
In these cases, the extinguisher or fire blanket needs to be near to the risk but not so close that it could not be accessed in a fire situation. These also need to be in a very visible position and not hidden in cupboards or behind other things.
How should they be stored?
Ideally, all extinguishers should be fixed in a permanent position. Those with contents of 3 kg or 3 litres plus should be wall-mounted so that the handles are one metre from the floor.
1 and 2 kg extinguishers need to be mounted so that handles are a minimum of one and a half metres from the floor level.
However, as many of modern shops and offices have partition walls or expanses of glass, this may not be always practical. In such case, a fire extinguisher stand would be suitable.
Fire extinguisher stands tend to come in single or double sizes and in many different colours!. Some will be made from GRP (fiberglass) but these can crack and are not suitable for food preparation areas. There are also vacuum formed plastic stands at the "economy" end but they must be leaned against a wall as there is no back to them. If aesthetics are important, chrome-plated tubular steel or stainless steel versions are available.
It is a requirement that fire extinguishers are clearly signed.
What about training my staff to use them?
The guides provide by Government to help us understand the expectations of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 explains the requirement for fire safety training. It explains that, where relevant, you should train staff in the appropriate use of fire fighting equipment.
Your Emergency plan should set out who amongst your staff will be expected to use them and therefore trained. This could be all of your staff, staff in key roles or a few selected fire wardens.
It is good practice to record any training provided in your fire logbook.
'Click' to go to our Training Page to see how Unicorn Extinguishers can help
Do my extinguishers need inspection and servicing?
Yes, extinguishers should be checked periodically by the owners, and serviced annually ('Basic Service') by a competent engineer.
BS 5306 suggests an inspection and maintenance routine which includes;
• Weekly check by the responsible person.
• Visual inspection by the responsible person conducted at least monthly.
• Basic service by Competent Person, conducted at least annualy.
• Extended service & overhauls, are carried out after the first 5 years, and then at 5 yearly intervals thereafter. The exception being CO2 extinguishers which require a Hydraulic Stretch Test every 10 years.
'Click' to go to our Servicing Page and see how Unicorn Extinguishers can help
Do all extinguishers have to be red?
Technically, yes. The current British and European standards require all fire extinguishers to be red in colour.
That said, you will see many workplaces using chrome extinguishers
for aspheric purposes. The enforcement agencies may or may not
How often should I replace them?
BS 5306 states that extinguishers should be replaced by no later than at the age of 20 years.