UK Fire Safety Regulations

New fire safety regulations were recently passed that affect all workplaces in England and Wales. While many workplaces have the basic precautions in place, there are many that don’t. Once you know the basics, such as how to assess the risk and what fundamental safety measures are required, fire safety is not a difficult topic, and the new fire safety regulations will be easy to implement.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, as it is known (or RRO), is designed to turn almost all the earlier pieces of UK fire safety legislation into one all-inclusive law.

Here is a short précis of the important parts of the Order that concern all those who run a business or institution situated in a building, based on key words used and their meanings:

  • Responsible Person: the person who owns or controls the business or premises
  • Competent Person: this could be an employee or an outside contractor appointed and trained to carry out fire fighting duties, contact the emergency services, and assist in evacuations
  • Enforcement: failing to satisfy the applicable articles of the Order may result in a fine or up to two years imprisonment
  • Fire Risk Assessment: if the responsible person employs 5 or more people, or if the premises are licensed, or if the inspector wants it, this vital plank of the Order must be officially documented


The Fire Safety Order applies to all buildings in use, except domestic premises and some kinds of premises that are a specific risk and where other regulations apply. It also places duties on a ‘responsible person’ not only to protect employees but members of the public.

Don’t forget that every building is going to be different – different fire hazards in different places affecting different people.

Fire Risk Assessment

The Law requires that Risk Assessment be done, consistent with most of the new regulations regarding health and safety. It is important to consider how a fire would affect the people in the building, starting with those immediately at risk from the fire.

The outcomes of the Risk Assessments must be presented in writing where five or more people are employed, in line with many other regulations.

Fire Prevention

One of the reasons for Fire Risk Assessment is to lessen the chances of fire occurring. A fire prevention plan should be easy to put together and should be a matter of common sense for most workplaces.

Some measures to consider include making sure rubbish is not stored near the premises, and ensuring that the electrical wiring is tested and inspected frequently.

Fire Precautions

There are a number of general fire precautions required by the regulations but it is important to remember that every workplace is different and every work location has different needs. What works in one building might not work elsewhere.

The most important fire safety regulations to consider include:

  • A whistle or an electric fire alarm, or some other kind of fire warning
  • Automatic fire detectors might be needed in some buildings, especially if a fire could be a risk to people if it is not detected (such as a two-story building) or there are large numbers of people in the building
  • There must be fire extinguishers in the building, not only to maintain exits while people evacuate but also to control small fires
  • There must be enough fire exits in the building for the numbers of people who use it and exits must lead as directly to safety as possible
  • Exits must be clearly marked with exit signs and they must be kept clear and readily available
  • Fire exit routes might need to be protected so that the smoke and flames won’t affect people evacuating the building
  • Emergency lighting might be needed in some situations to light exit routes and rooms in the event of a power failure
  • Fire equipment must be maintained and looked after, so that they are in working order
  • There must be a fire procedure for the building, outlining people’s responsibilities and the evacuation plan in case of fire


  1. dennis forbes says

    My company has booked me in to do a fire warden course thank you for the information.

  2. Pete Baker says

    We are looking into fire extinguisher testing regimes for those placed in work vehicles. As the work vehicle is defined as a workplace, does the RRO covering fire protection of fire extinguishers have to be applied as per buildings i.e. annual inspection/test regime by competent engineer or will a visual inspection suffice to be compliant ?

  3. Hi Pete

    This is where the RRO falls down (or, rather, one of the places it falls down!). Technically, a work vehicle is a place of work – as shown by it requiring a “no smoking” sign – so it should have a fire extinguisher.

    However, there is no guidance for size of extinguishers or types for vehicles other than ADR Regs. Also, it takes around 10 seconds to inspect your average 1kg or 2kg powder extinguisher and difficult to get them all in for an inspection.

    Personally, I’d inspect them yourself using a fixed format and have an inspection label attached and keep the record. Unfortunately, if you ask anyone for an official viewpoint, they will only be able to give you their opinion and interpretation and that counts for nothing in the RRO. have a free commissioning pack (supplied with every extinguisher) with info on how to inspect.

  4. I’ve been told that a fire extinguisher is only servicable for up to 10 yrs. Is this law or sales talk from a rep who wants my to buy new instead of maintain existing?

  5. Hi Mark

    There is no legally defined lifespan of a fire extinguisher. But, a CO2 extinguisher and a ‘factory-sealed’ powder (only from Nu-swift and their companies, I think) need a full overhaul service at 10 years and it may not be economically viable.

    In fact, all other extinguishers need a discharge test at 5 years and, if you check online, it is usually cheaper to buy a new one. Have a look at the prices at as they sell the proper stuff

  6. Hello, my daughter set off a fire extinguisher at school and they have kicked up a fuss about it. She told me that it had no pin in place so I’ve been searching the net in regards to the rules and H/S because Im sure that by not having a pin in place it is they who have broken a bigger rule.

    Could you point me in the right direction.


  7. Hi Lester,

    This sounds like a catch 22 situation, despite your daughter saying there was no pin, the school will argue just as hard that there was. So unless someone independent can validate either claim it is unlikely to be resolved.

    I would however maybe point out to the school that there are a number of ways they can prevent pupils even having access to the fire extinguishers in the first place, by for example, alarming the fire extinguishers, putting them into cabinets, or the cheapest way would be to put a cover over them – it acting as a visual deterrent.

    I found a website that seems to stock all of these options at a good price:

    Good luck with it all and I hope its resolved quickly for you.

  8. Carol Jones says

    Is there a minimum size that signs have to be? Obviously they need to be seen but I’m looking at how small I can get away with!

    • Hi Carol,

      I’ve had a look around and gone to a reliable source for information—Fire-Safety-Signs-In-The-Workplace.html

      The last paragraph on this article seems to imply that there is no hard and fast rule, just that they can be clearly and easily seen to people, so I would say always err on the side of caution and maybe look at a relatively decent size sign but obviously not one that’s going to dominate the wall.

      I looked at a few of the signs on this website and they seem to be of the size and quality I’d suggest – You’ll need something hardwearing and rigid (so people can’t easily peel them from the walls etc)

      I hope this helps.

  9. Hi, I currently work in a garage that deals with all types of servicing of motor vehicles (apart from bodywork) and carries out MOT’s. These two services are carried out in the same large open plan building, which contains 5 lifts so any form of work can be performed. There is also another seperate building which is almost equal in size which is used to fit tyres/alloy wheels, the stock of tyres are kept in both buildings. To my shock and amazement there is only 1 fire extinguisher located on the entire site (in the building first detailed). I can truely say that it does not install any confidence at all as it is about the same size as a SMALL Thermos flask (clearly inadequate for the size and purpose of site), is grey in colour (claims to be for all fires) and looks as if it could be at least 20/30 years old. I have worked in numerous garages over the years and never ever seen a place like this, surley they are breaking a whole lot of health and safety laws and i was wondering what your views would be on how to tackle the matter.

    • Hey Pablo,

      Well gosh, thats a lot to take in, in short, yes they’re breaking the law mega-big-time.

      The grey extinguisher is probably an old chubb halon one from a car and is illegal and way out of date, which really isnt great.

      Personally I’d recommend finding out the square footage and getting on to someone like Sue at Fire Protection Online ( ) 0800 321 3145 for advice on what you really need (I often use Fire Protection as a point of reference since they have some much free and useful information). Legally speaking the owners could be facing a huge fine and even a possible prison sentence if deemed to be very dangerous.

      Then I’d say once the fire extinguishers have been bought and put up in place, get a fire risk assessment ( since every business by law needs one) asap – but dont go to a fire extinguisher servicing company for this – either do it yourself or go to a specialist company.

      Hope this Helps.

  10. Martin Thomas says

    Is there any legal requirement ref height for securing fire extinguishers to walls (Wall Mounted)

    • Hi Martin

      Yes, there is. Extinguishers with a content weight of 2kg or less should have the top handle at 1.5m from the ground. Bigger than that (and, confusingly, the 2kg CO2) should have the handles 1m from the ground.

      If the walls are unsuitable, then it is OK to have them on a fire extinguisher stand or on an extinguisher trolley.

      And, it does not have to be exact so roughly those measurements will keep everyone happy. There is some good information here at


  11. Hi,
    Do fire extinguishers have to be replaced after twenty five years of service, we have them inspected every six months & discharged every five years?

    • Hi Tony,
      It’s difficult to comment since I’m not sure which country you’re referring to, each country has their own specific requirements.
      However, I will assume you are in the UK.
      An average fire extinguisher if bought online costs around £30.00 and is a potential life saver. If your fire extinguishers have been discharged tested genuinely and properly you are likely to be paying more than buying brand new modern fire extinguishers, which would strike me as a false economy.
      It would be for the best if you were to replace the older fire extinguishers with the new modern ones, not only for cost but also in respect to the advances they have made in the past 25 years.
      Hope this helps.

  12. I have 2 x h20 extinguishers &1 x co2 extinguisher in a retail business that employs just 3 people. Do I have to pay an outside company to annually maintain these extinguishers or is it sufficient for us to check pressure readings and condition ourselves and log this in a report?

    • Hey Steve,

      Yes, I’m afraid you need to get a qualified service engineer to check your fire extinguishers and to update the service labels after having inspected the equipment.
      To find a decent company, I’d either ask a few personal recommendations from other business owners (smaller local companies tend to be more efficient and cheaper) or look on for a registered company in your area.
      Hope this helps

  13. Hi,
    What are the mandatory rules for fire extinguishers and maintenance iIf you are a small business with under 5 employees? Do they have to be tested regularly by a contractor?

    • Hey Stef,

      Ok, First of all you will need fire extinguishers for your business, no matter if its one person in a office at home or a multinational corporation.

      You will also need to complete a fire risk assessment by law (this should help work out how many fire extinguishers you will need) you can either go to this link and use the free government resources, or if you feel you may need a little more guidance one of my favourite websites sells these or if you really rather you could hire an independent consultant to come in and work out what you need and where ( this is quite costly).

      Secondly, the fire extinguishers will need to be annually serviced by a qualified service engineer and then discharge tested once every 5 years ( or 10 if its a CO2 fire extinguisher) the discharge tests are quite expensive and often cheaper to buy online a new fire extinguisher!

      I hope this helps.

  14. Fire extinguishers are a necessary part of every home, commercial operation, and laboratory. Where safety is concerned, it’s best not to skip out on quality. Do consider buying higher quality products that have a high shelf-life, so you won’t run into bigger problems of failures when they are needed most.Lucy

  15. J. P. O'Neill says

    Why does one need a fire extinguisher to be dumped & refilled, if the indicator is still sitting on the middle of the green ?.
    Is this only a gimmick to keep “engineers ” running about ” firing off” units to get a massive fee for repairing the “damage”. A large fee to help tp tempt people to ” leave it “, to help their budget problems work out

    • Hi John,

      Fire extinguishers need to be discharge tested after 5 years ( or 10 if it is a co2 fire extinguisher) to ensure that the extinguisher is functioning correctly, replacing the product inside and recharging the pressure ensures that the equipment would be fine to use in case of an emergency.

      The engineers really shouldn’t be performing a discharge test as part of the annual service, as its main function is to just check that there aren’t any signs of corrosion or indicators of an issue with the fire extinguisher that may or have developed.

      Most people find it cheaper and more economical to just buy new products again online than pay for a discharge test, as with a discharge test you’re paying not only the test but the call out charge as well. Which all in all makes it quite an expensive affair to refurbish a 5 year old fire extinguisher.

      Hope this helps and don’t forget if you’re buying online check what products you buying and that they meet the requirements you need and the regulations too.

  16. Hey Dave,
    Chubb are a good company, although I have heard a number of complaints about the service engineers and the pricing, I would always say check online to see if its cheaper, and try small local companies who are more focused on customer service.

  17. I have my fire extinguishers maintained regularly in my factory by a local company in the UK, They have just sent me a very expensive quote suggesting various changes must be made inline with british standard 5306 part 3. some are replacing water extinguishers with foam extinguishers, changing i.d. signs etc,
    Is this a requirement or should i just take it as a recommendation?
    I have spoken to my contractors about this and they are not very forthcoming with the answer.

    • Hey Andrew,

      To be blunt it sounds like they are trying to squeeze a few extra pounds out of you. As i understand the current standard your current extinguishers should be fine,( if you are worried you can always request a different company to come in and give you their opinion but I bet no two opinions will be the same).
      There is nothing wrong with water extinguishers unless your is running a fuel depot or dont have any class A fire risks. There should be CO2s for electrical risks, too. Signs should be above extinguishers and on exit routes but, as long as they have the recognised pictogram, they are OK.

      I hope this helps!

  18. Are dry powder extinguishers included in the pressure regulations?
    Are Co2 extinguishers covered by the pressure regulations?

    • Hi Gordon,

      Ok so I’m going to presume this a question for within the UK?! All fire extinguishers in the UK are subject to the current regulations and these state pressure and the recommendations for the pressure of each variant.

      So yes powder and Co2 are regulated in regards to the recommend pressure they should be at ( a little guide for stored pressure fire extinguishers and whether they’re ok is to look at the dial on the side of the extinguisher – the marker should normally be in the middle, however a Co2 fire extinguisher needs to be weighed as there is no dial)

      Hope this helps

  19. Hello,

    I was wondering about the law regarding to Commercial vehicles and fire extinguishers, was wondering if you could point me in the right direction?


  20. I work for a small company employin 12-15 people. Funds are being squeezed and the annual service for the fire extinguishers is not being done. Can you point me to the section of statute that specifically says theses extinguishers need to be annually serviced.


    • Hi Dan

      If the extinguishers are not being maintained, it is likely that there has been no fire risk assessment. That is breaking the law and people have genuinely been sent to prison for this offence under the current Fire Regs. Here is an article about fire extinguisher maintenance and the law.

      You may also want to read this one about the current fire regulations. There are a lot of prosecutions these days and the average fine is £2000 per item with each case finding quite a few items per business.

  21. Is there a regulation regarding the siting and suitability of Dry powder ext’s in inside situations such as offices,bars etc

    • Hi Colin

      Powder extinguishers are not suitable for offices or bars. The suitability would be covered in British Standard 5306 part 8 for selection and positioning of fire extinguishers. A quick reference can be found on this page at Fire Protection Online. Look down the page where is talks about powder extinguishers.

      If you imagine a crowded bar at night and a fire emergency, then add a powder dust cloud to that equation, it would not be nice. And you’d probably have someone sue you for their asthma attack. In an office, the powder would wreck all the computers very quickly.

      They should both have a 2kg CO2 fire extinguisher for electrical fires and one water based extinguisher one per 2000 square feet (200 sq metres) per floor level.

      If in doubt, ask a BAFE approved fire extinguisher company to visit and do a free survey. Then compare their prices to the ones on the above links and save a fortune.

  22. I’ve been told by a Fire engineer that discharge testing can no longer be carried on site is this true?

    • Hi

      No this is not true but, depending on the type of extinguisher, some are exchanged for ready-tested extinguishers as they are too difficult to refill on site. For example, powder is too messy to let off, foam and hydrospray are not environmentally friendly and CO2 needs special equipment to refill. That leaves water as the easiest one to do on site.

      But, to be honest, it is probably cheaper to buy a new one from someone bona-fide online like Fire Protection Online as there are likely to be extra costs for parts and the test itself and all you are getting is a refurbished (secondhand) extinguisher.

  23. hi. I have just become my companies fire warden. i want to purchase more fire extinguishers. Is it a requirement for these additional extinguishers to be tested before they are placed in parts of the buildings. I am purchasing these from a known supplier.

    • Well done Clive on your appointment. The term ‘requirement’ is a dubious one. The new version of the British Standard 5306 part 3 requires a ‘commissioning’ of new extinguishers by a ‘competent person’ (ie, a service technician).

      But, British Standards are not legal requirement and this new service was drawn up by the BSI (with the fire trade forming much of the committee) in answer to the proliferation of internet and catalogue competitors undercutting prices for the same items by up to 90%. All of the major suppliers have been gladly supplying extinguishers direct with no commissioning for years but now recommend it.

      We also recommend a thorough check by following a defined procedure and, if you don’t have a correct procedure, you can buy extinguishers online and then pay a local service company to come and commission them. It is still likely to cost much less that way.

  24. Rick Hills says


    I’m working for a large company who run a lot of vehicles (transit van type) and during several of my inspections I found that all the fire extinguishers in the vans had not been serviced. The fire extinguihsers were put in when the van was bought. Some of the employees carry out hotworks and others carry small 5 litre pertol cans & or 20 litre Jerry cans with diesel to refuel their equipment if required to do so durng the day.

    I have recommended to the managers that each vehicle should carry a Fire Extinguisher of 2kg Powder. This will in my opinion cover all bases as the teams do swap their tasks and vehicles on a regular basis.

    In discussions after the report and reccomendations were put out the management have said that carrying petrol under a certain litreage does not come under the Carrying of dangerous goods legislation. Whereas I feel that it does.

    Are you aware of any legilations or regs where a works vehicle does not need to carry a fire extinguisher? I have searched the net and am struggling to find a simple definition.



    • Hi Rick

      As you rightly say, there is no definitive answer online that you can refer to. Your management may be trying to find an escape from their responsibilities due to cost but, those vans are a place of work and, therefore, covered by the Fire Safety Order.

      A proper risk assessment would find a fire risk and one remedy to that risk would be to carry and maintain a fire extinguisher. I hope that the hot work employees carry extinguishers!

      If cost is a concern, take a look at a the price of a quality 2kg powder fire extinguisher such as the one in that link. At that price, it is easier to simply replace them each year instead of servicing them.

  25. Hi there admin, I was wondering if you could help me with a question. I found out the other day that my parents didn’t have a fire extinguisher at home so I’ve decided that I’ll go and buy one for them as soon as possible. I was wondering whether it would be best to get one of the water or a powder fire extinguishers?

    • Hi Leland

      A powder extinguisher is multi-purpose so would be much better. In most other countries, they use powder extinguishers everywhere, including supermarkets and stores.

  26. Jason Farrer says


    We are just finishing off a project that has a commercial kitchen facility inlcuded

    We are enquiring about what type extinguishers and fire blankets etc would be needed within the kitchen areas

    We have included for an Ansul fire supression system within the extract canopy, but we would assume that fire blankets and smaller hand held extinguishers would be need aswell

    Many thnaks in adavnce.!

    Kind Regards


  27. Hi
    I noticed you have mentioned many times to buy online. But the fire extinguishers offline don’t come with any service label or certificate. So If a fire happened And I want To claim on the insurance Where would I stand if they came out to check to extinguishers or ask for a certificate?

    • Hello Paul

      No matter where you buy your extinguishers, they must be serviced once a year in accordance with BS 5306 part 3. We recommend that you use a BAFE certified company for this. Some of the ‘online’ suppliers offer the option for a small fee of supplying them with a filled in service label. This, in our opinion, is bad as thei item can be damaged in transit. They must be serviced at the location. Reputable online or catalogue suppliers will send the items with full instructions on how to check them on arrival.

      Or, for extra peace of mind, why not just have a local company come and service/commission them on arrival. Add this to the online price and it will still cost much less than buying from traditional suppliers.

    • No matter where you buy, they need servicing every year by Regulations. Many online suppliers offer (at extra cost usually) a prefilled service label. This, in our opinion, is not good as the extinguisher may get damaged in transit and be hanging on the wall without being fit for use. Reputable ones will supply full information to explain what to check for after delivery.

      On the other hand, you can call a local servicing company to come and commission check them (any company will do this, no matter where you bought them from) and it will still probably cost much less than buying them from a traditional supplier.

      If you are buying online, make sure that the manufacturer is a long established UK based one. If the web site does not tell you who makes their extinguishers, the chances are that they are Chinese imports. These are perfectly legal, may be kitemarked and have a 5-year warranty but would you trust buying those when the manufacturer has only been making them for two years and the supplier started trading at Christmas?

      Always look for quality, high levels of online feedback and real people that answer telephones when buying online.

  28. Dear Sir,

    First of all I would like to thanks and appreciate for such services.

    I have two Queries:
    1> what is the criteria for how many Fire Extinguishers should be required in 15000 sq. feet area (warehouse of packaging areas e.g. plastic/card type material store).
    2>we have to replace / refilled fire extinguishers (CO2/DCP) after one year. Is it good practice or waste of money? (Remember gages shows good in work)

    Thanks and B’Rgds,
    Faheem Ahmed
    Asst. Manager HSE + QM

    • Hi Faheem

      You need one 13A rated extinguisher per 200 sq metres (2000 sq feet) of floor area per floor and, as you store plastics and card, I’d recommend water-based extinguishers. If you pick one of the water spray models then they can be safe near machines. If you have electrical fire risks in some areas, have a CO2 extinguisher alongside it. Water and CO2 will also be good for the offices.

      As for replacing, the extinguishers need servicing each year (Fire Regs) by a proper extinguisher servicing company and, after 5 years, the water ones will need discharge testing and refilling. It is probably going to cost less to replace them at that point if you buy at online prices. The CO2 ones will last 10 years before they need testing or replacing. If a refill is needed, check what the total cost of refill + parts + labour + visit charge is and see if it costs less to replace (it probably will)

  29. lisa phillpis says

    hi please could you tell me which fire extinguishers i require for a petshop.

  30. I have been asked to make up some sticky labels to go onto fire extinguishers saying something like “This is a safety device, not a door stop”. I’m not sure this is necessarily the correct approach, (I think ‘education’ should be adequate) but is it even acceptable to put such labels on extinguishers?

    • Yes, fire safety training is the answer. Labels are likely to cover up important information on the extinguisher. Are the extinguishers on wall brackets on the wall? If so, it shouldn’t be difficult to spot who keeps taking them off. If it’s a real problem, try a Stopper alarm and it will soon stop it happening.

      Another alternative is to use a Dorgard to prop open the door legally and then have it shut automatically if the fire alarm goes off.

  31. We have fire extinguishers around our hotel but a lot of the locations where the FE are do not have any Fire Ext signs to indicate type and use for them. The manager has deliberately refused to have the signs up as he said they make the hotel look tacky. Is he breaking any rules/law?



    • Hi Paul

      It is possible that the hotel is ot complying with the Fire Safety Order. If he does not have a written fire risk assessment in accordance with the and there are 5 or more employees, then, yes, he is breaking the law. In that assessment, fire safety signage should be covered to ensure the building complies. Your county Fire Service may have a whistleblower anonymous phone number if you feel that staff and residents lives are potentially being put at risk.

  32. We are a residential block of flats on three floors and have become aware of the regs requiring us to have an extinguisher for each 200 sqm of communal space which is only the entry foyers and stairways and lifts. 200sqm covers the communal space for all three floors. Will one extinguisher suffice for the block or do we need one for each floor?
    The communal area is carpetted and there is a locked cupboard containing the fuses and electricy supply meters.
    We assume we need a Co2 appliance for this cupboard but what model is most suitable for the foyer/stairway ie foam or water?

    • Hi Ken

      You need to have two extinguishers on each floor level for a property of that size. The area is the entire floor area, not just the communal areas. I would recommend 6 litre water spray extinguishers for the floor areas as they are safe to use, easy to handle and contain no additives (making it cost less to refill and environmentally friendly). For the electrical cupboard, a 2kg CO2 extinguisher will suffice.

      I hope that answers your question.

  33. Hi could you clarify what size Fire Ex an engineer would need to carry/have by thier side when doing hot works in different building locations and size IE shops,schools, offices etc .

    thanks in advance lee

  34. i am opening a small business less than 5 staff and am wondering if a have to install a fire extinguisher in my staff room which has just a kettle, toaster and microwave, if so what type do i need.

    • Hi

      Either a 2kg CO2 fire extinguisher or a 2kg ABC powder extinguisher would suffice in a small staff room. This would be in addition to the other water-based extinguishers covering the rest of the premises.

  35. I am a tenant renting from a private landlord agency, we only have 1 door in and out of our flat and we are about 15ft off ground level. We have been provided with fire extinguishers when we moved in (nearly a year ago) and never really looked at them too much, just put them in bed room living room and kitchen. Upon inspection i noticed they went out of date in 1997, 15 years ago! I was wondering if anybody here could give me any guidance on where to go from here. I have notified the landlord.

    • Hi Kieran

      It’s a shame that your landlord does not understand the risk of fire and the regulations. I would recommend that, for your peace of mind, you purchase your own fire extinguisher as they do not cost much. More importantly, make sure that everyone in the flat knows how to get out when the smoke alarm goes off and make sure that the front door can be opened from the inside without having to find a key. You can also call your local Fire Service to have them do a free inspection and check your smoke alarms

  36. i opened a working mans club three years ago nd was told by an fire officer i did not have to put fire extinguishers in public areas, does this apply to a restaurant as well.

    • Hi Lee

      I’m not sure of the exact details of what the Fire Officer told you but I would ask for that in writing on headed paper. As for a restaurant, you have to provide extinguishers to cover the full premises but, if you feel they may be stolen or vandalised, you can write that in to your Fire Risk Assessment and place them in staff-only areas. You can also use covers, cabinets or extinguisher alarms

  37. joy Roxborough says

    what type of fire extinguisher do they typically use in UK schools? Thanks

    • Hello Joy

      I assume you mean in the general areas and corridors, in which case, a 9 litre water or 6 litre water extinguisher to cover each 200sq m of floor area should be OK. Fire exits and exit doors on exit routes are good locations. If there are electrical risks such as office equipment, a 2kg CO2 extinguisher is best. In the kitchen, along with a CO2, a wet chemical extinguisher and a fire blanket. For a lab, powder may be better than CO2, depending on the equipment stored. An extinguisher salesperson may tell you about fancy foam and additive extinguishers but it is all down to fire ratings so these additives are not needed (and they cost extra to refill).

      I hope that helps but here is a link to a fire extinguisher guide

  38. Hi

    Is there any guidance/requirement for the distance that a fire extinguisher should be from a work station??

    • Hello Alaister

      You should not have to travel more than around 30 metres to get to a fire extinguisher. And, the best place for extinguishers is next to an exit door or on an exit route.


  39. My company has recently purchased 6 fire extinguishers second hand, most of which are full and have a serviced label with an expiry date on, do we need to get all the extinguishers reserviced and checked or just the ones due for inspection? Cheers

  40. I understand fully in regard to competent persons servicing fire extinguishers, however i have been advised by my supplier that if the security seal is broken that it needs to be relpaced by them in case the extinguisher has been tampered with, even if it is clearly obvious it has not, as we have about 50 of these broken a year, it would appear money for old rope for the supplier and something to which we can do ourselves, are we legally bound to use the supplier in this instance?

    I have researched and had no joy.

    • Hello Ken

      If your service company is BAFE registered, you need to report them to BAFE. If not, get a BAFE Registered service company. This is the kind of sharp practice that is encouraged by service technicians being paid commissions of any new equipment they can sell. Some are earning £30,000 on top of their £16,000 basic salaries! It gives the good ones a bad name.

      I recommend two things to prevent this happening. Firstly, buy spare anti-tamper seals and make weekly or monthly checks (the colours are not important but many change colour each year). Then, to prevent them being broken in the first place, many schools put extinguisher covers over them to stop little fingers pulling pins out. They cost less than a fiver.

      And, if you need to replace extinguishers, have you seen how low the online extinguisher prices are? Just buy the replacements online and the service people will soon stop recommending new ones as they won’t get commission.

  41. Hi there
    As a parent governor for a local primary school, I have been asked to find out if there is a legal requirement to have signage and stands for fire extinguishers in schools.
    If so, what type and where is this regulation to be found?


    • Hello Andy

      Yes, to the signs and extinguishers need to be either wall mounted or on stands. It sounds as if your school may not have had a proper fire risk assessment carried out and that is a prosecutable offence (by large fines and/or prison) so I would start there as you assessor will know all the Regs.

  42. hi

    i am doing a university project and i want to know if there are any regulations about putting a sleeve around a fire extinguisher,


    • Hi

      I don’t understand what a ‘sleeve’ would be but, if all extinguishers you can see in the UK don’t have them, then no, it’s not a regulation.

  43. hi,
    im an apprentice and ive been given a project which is to locate all the extinguishers and make sure they are hanging off the wall, have signs ect..

    i noticed we have a fire extinguisher in a cabinet on the outside of the factory and was wondering weather it needed a ID sign?

    we also have several company cars that never carry anythhing explosive or flamable, do they require a small extinguisher by law or is it optional?

    may thanks.

    • Hi Oz

      Yes, the cabinet needs a sign to show that it has an extinguisher in it. Most cabinets have the required red sign. As for cars, no, they don’t need extinguishers.

  44. Steven Moss says

    I work as a service engineer within secured rooms that store managers etc. have no access. I am finding a large amount of fire extingushers that are between 10 & 15 years out of date.

    I have spoken to my local fire department who have informed me that these rooms are classified as temporary work places, as such if an extingusher is present then it must comply to regulations, if their is non then it will not require one.

    My question is whom will be responsible for the fire regulations within these locked rooms as the conversations I have had with store managers always run along the same lines. “We don’t have access so it’s not our responsability”


    • Hi Steven

      Although it seems like a tricky one to call, yes, the store manager is the premises manager and, as such, he or she is legally responsible for compliance with the Fire Regs. Also, in a court of law you will soon find someone at head office not wanting to be fined and prosecuted so the blame will quickly be passed down to the store manager.

      If these extinguishers are out of date and are of that age, why not just remove them and environmentally dispose of them? If extinguishers are on the premises, they need to be in working order. It would be easier for an extinguisher to be located outside the room.

      I think that someone needs to speak to head office to explain the law and the repercussions of a prosecution.

  45. Hi Admin,
    I work on a remote site but under UK/US H&S regs.
    After a recent fire inspection we were informed by the inspector that our extinguishers did not comply with legislation. This is because they only have the BS EN3 Kitemark on them and not the CE mark aswell.
    I am aware that legislation changed over 10 years ago regarding the conformity standards but I’m unsure where to find the statement saying that both the kitemark and EC stamp are required. Could you point me in the right direction please.
    As a point of note our extinguishers are purchased in the Middle East. I want to go back to them and need the documentary evidence to enforce conformance.
    Thanks very much

    • Hello Andy

      In fact, their is no requirement for the BSI Kitemark but the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) is a European legal requirement as shown at So, for example, fully approved USA extinguishers cannot be used in Europe unless they have been tested under the PED and have the CE Mark.

      Unless the extinguishers are old, I have never seen one with the BS EN Kitemark and no CE Mark. I would guess that BSI would not award a Kitemark unless it has the CE Mark (but I may be wrong there).

      Anyway, as most extinguishers, when bought online, only cost £20 to £30, why not just buy a new one? See prices here at

  46. ali alakus says

    we have a 2 bedrooms+1 launch ground floor flat in 2 story building in Aberdeen. it is rented out. is there any requlation says that to put fire extinguishers in the kitchens tenants must be trained to use the extinguishers. if tenant injures himself trying to use it and hasn`t got a certificate to use it, landlord can be responsible.

    • Hi

      Yes, you must supply adequate means of detecting a fire (smoke alarms) and fighting a fire (extinguisher and fire blanket). But, no, it is not necessary to train a tenant in the use of extinguishers. A huge proportion of the UK population rent properties and they don’t, as a rule, get extinguisher training. Some owner associations get a little carried away with their risk assessor’s reports and quotes for training but it’s not needed. Every extinguisher has the instructions printed onto the front in a standard format.

      And, I’ve never heard of a landlord being sued for providing a life-saving device or for anyone suing as a result of being injured trying to put out a fire and save their life. It’s a myth thrown around by over-eager risk assessors or health-and-safety-gone-mad Councils – in my opinion, lol.

      To give another perspective, would they sue you if they burned themselves on the oven? Do you need to train them to use that oven?

  47. Just a quick question,

    I have been reading up on the locations that fire extinguishers should be sited (travelling distances etc) but I was wondering….

    Do all extinguishers have to be either wall mounted or on a purpose built stand,
    Is it un-acceptable to have them standing on the floor out of the way (in this instance, in the corner of a corridor by a fire exit) even if they have the appropriate photoluminescent signs above them.

    Many thanks for information you can provide.

    • Hi Ed

      Yes, that is the case. But, if you don’t have a suitable wall for fixing a bracket on or if a stand does not seem appropriate, have you had a look at the smaller (and cheaper) plinths? Click here to see these free-standing fire stands

  48. Hi
    ive been told by a fire extinguisher technician that all extinguishers have to be signal red with a 20% colour banding on, if that is the case why is it that you can purchase stainless steel extinguishers ?

    Many thanks

    • Hello Bob

      The “British” version of the standard EN3 requires up to 5% of the body (not 20%) to be coloured to show the type with the rest of the body being red. Stainless steel extinguishers are accepted because they have been around for years and are usually made to the exact same specifications as the red, mild steel versions, except for the red colour. Once an extinguisher sign is placed above it, everyone will know.

      Stainless steel extinguishers have the advantage of being non-corrosive so water and foam don’t require a special lining inside and are not affected by atmospheres such as in swimming pool areas.


  49. Hi, does anyone have any details on northern ireland and south
    Brian recently extinguishers irelandMy Profile

  50. Hi Jon,

    thanks for the note. I was wondering whether there were any quick calculator tools for northern ireland or ireland? im trying to see whether we can provide customers a resource online. Have you seen any UK ones?
    Brian recently extinguishers irelandMy Profile

    • Brian

      If you mean extinguisher calculators, then no, I don’t know of any online and it’s not something that can or should be worked out in that way. There is no substitute for a survey from an experienced technician or a phone discussion with someone that knows the products and what’s best for what situation.


  51. Thanks for the note. I actually spotted a great one on a uk site but never booked marked it – so sadly lost. Its just a quick guide and not a definitive solution.
    Brian recently extinguishers irelandMy Profile

  52. I’ve been told to move a fire extinguisher at work from one wall to a different wall. Is this allowed or would I be braking any rules and regs regarding fire safety Thankyou

  53. hi
    where can you dispose of a fire extinguisher no one seems to want to take it.

  54. If you have a small business under 200 squ feet or even bigger and your policy/proceedures for evacuation is evacuate on discovering a fire or alarm sounding and not attempting to put it out. is there a need to have extinquisheres. Or any business for business.

    • Hi John

      If only it were so easy. All businesses could say that just to get out of spending £30 on a fire extinguisher – there’s no need to pay £100-200 to the large national companies. And they would!

      However, what we forget is that fire extinguishers are simply first-aid fire fighting. They are designed to put out small fires to stop them becoming life or property threatening.

      Approximately 80% of fires are put out with fire extinguishers with the fire brigade not being called.

      Also, you’d probably find that your fire insurance will be null and void without one and without maintenance records.

      I hope that helps.

      Jon recently posted..Extinguishers For MetalsMy Profile

  55. Hi,

    We have fire extinguishers carried in vans as we undertake mobile works across the north east and Yorkshire.

    The fire extinguisher servicing company we used to use would write on the standard white label with service details but also wrap a heavy duty sticker around the top or bottom of the extinguisher to make it clear when it was next due a service. A new company we are using will not add the heavy duty stickers insisting they are only permitted to write on the label. As the extinguishers are carried in vans the service details are being rubbed off. Can we add extra stickers to the fire extinguishers to make it clear when they are next due a service?



    • Hi Mark

      Remember that these are YOUR extinguishers. There are plenty of service companies out there. Extra labels, plastic tags or permanent marker pens cost money and take some effort. If I were you, I’d find a service company that knows what “customer service” means.

      However, if you have their service paperwork as extra verification, there’s no reason why you cannot add your own in addition to their label. Just make sure it does not cover any of the print on the extinguisher.

      Jon recently posted..Extinguishers For MetalsMy Profile

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge