Update of BS 5306 for Fire Extinguishers

There have been some small updates to the British Standard BS 5306 for Fire Extinguishers.  The BS covers:-

- the provision of extinguishers and replacements
- the characteristics of extinguishers
- the positioning of extinguishers
- the suitability of extinguishers for various classes of fire
- the recommended distribution of extinguishers depending on the classification of the fire and the rating of the extinguisher
- special considerations for fires involving electrical equipment.

If you haven’t already carried out a risk assessment then it is the normal 5 states:-

1. Identify hazards
2. Identify who is at risk
3. Evaluate 1 and 2 and act to remove/reduce risk
4. Record, plan and train
5. Review

The main changes in the BS are:-

- Locate appropriate fire extinguishers next to the fire risk to prevent confusion
- Install powder extinguishers outdoors as they can cause asphyxiation and evacuation invisibility issues when discharged.  Powder extinguishers will generally not be specified for use indoors.
- Water extinguishers will generally be replaced with foam extinguishers as they are safer on electrical fires.
- No mixing of old BS 5423 extinguishers (blue, black, cream) with new
- Only non conductive products eg powder, DO2, etc for use on electrical equipment
- New maximum travel distances from fire to fire extinguisher eg

• Class A fires – free burning, sold carbon material eg wood, paper, textiles – 30m max
• Class B – flammable liquids – 10m max
• Class C – gases – 30m max

BSI recommended servicing of fire extinguishers annually.  Good quality units should last at least 10 years.  If you are advised to have them replaced then check why it is being recommended.  It appears some businesses work on commission payments for inspection so beware.

If you want diagnosis of the new colour codes there are various examples on the internet for download.


Published: 08 Jul 2013


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