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How Many Fire Extinguishers Do I Need?

how many fire extinguishers should a workplace have?

Knowing exactly how many fire extinguishers you need is not always easy to find out but, as a general rule, you will need one water-based extinguisher such as water, water additive (which is the most suitable option for most), or foam for every 2,000 square foot or 200 square metres of floor space per floor.

UK fire extinguisher regulations state that you must have a minimum of two ‘Class A’ extinguishers on every storey of the building.  Class A fire extinguishers are those which put out wood or paper fires, also known as ‘carbonaceous’ fires.

Fire extinguishers considered Class A are:

  • 3-litre foam extinguishers
  • 6-litre foam extinguishers
  • 9-litre water extinguishers

Do I need any other types of extinguisher?

Depending on the equipment in your workplace, you almost certainly are going to need other types of fire extinguisher.

The most common of these are CO2 extinguishers, which are used to fight electrical fires.

UK regulations that cover fire extinguishers specify:

  • All premises with electrical equipment must have at least 2kg CO2 extinguishers
  • Where there is 415 volt rated equipment, then 5kg CO2 extinguishers are required

There are very few exceptions where you won’t need a CO2 extinguisher which is why it is very common to see these paired with foam or water extinguishers, thereby meeting UK fire extinguisher legal requirements.

Other types of extinguisher you may need are:

  • Dry powder extinguishers: for gas risks, e.g. in boiler rooms.
  • Wet chemical extinguishers: for kitchens with deep-fat fryers
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