BS 5306 Main Points To Consider

BS 5306 main points to consider

Often we come across something that we don’t understand or want more information on and it can be difficult and frustrating to find what were looking for. We can scour the internet looking for info on BS 5306 only to find bits here and there. That is why we have put together a compilation of the best tips and advice from the best sources available to help you find the information you need from one place quickly.

1) Training in the use of extinguishers

Section 4.5 of BS 5306 – 8, Clearly states that the Competent Person has a duty to make the Responsible Person aware of the legal requirement for training in the use of fire extinguishers.

Here is an example of correct use of an extinguisher

2) Empty Buildings
 “The Responsible Person or Competent Person should assess the provision of extinguishers where buildings, or parts thereof, are unoccupied.

3) Extinguisher Signs
The position and type of extinguisher should be indicated on a sign, so that if the unit is removed, this can be identified during a safety inspection and a replacement ordered. If an extinguisher is not visible it should be indicated by a location sign.

fire extinguisher missing sign

4) The Environment
 Section 4.2 of BS 5306, states the impact of the discharge of the extinguisher medium should be taken into account.

5) Avoidance of multiplicity of types
To avoid confusion, all extinguishers installed in any one storey of a building or single occupancy should have the same method of operation and, if intended for the same function, should all be similar in shape, appearance and colour.

6) Electrical Cover
Only non-conductive media, such as powder, carbon dioxide or other clean agent, should be specified for use on electrical equipment.

7) Fire Ratings
Section 5.2 of BS 5306, Directs the Competent Person to consider discharge times and ranges of extinguishers, not just fire rating. Extinguishers to BS5423 (old extinguishers coloured blue, black and cream) must be in a serviceable condition and have a fire rating.

8) Commissioning and maintenance
All extinguishers should be commissioned, inspected, tested and maintained by a competent person in accordance with BS 5306-3.

The correct way to service fire extinguishers from Lancashire Fire Protection

9) Use of powder extinguishers
The discharge of a powder extinguisher within buildings can cause a sudden reduction of visibility and can also impair breathing, which could temporarily jeopardize escape, rescue or other emergency action. For this reason, powder extinguishers should generally not be specified for use indoors, unless mitigated by a health and safety risk assessment.

As one expert put it!

“Discharging one indoors (other than warehouses and similar open indoor spaces) does create problems (have you ever set one off indoors?) with vision and it is very bad for you on inhalation due to the particle size and anyone with respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma) will be very poorly – even the fit and healthy will cough and splutter a bit!
Secondary damage potential is severe – Mono-ammonium Phosphate is acidic and, as part of it’s Class A extinguishing action fuses when hot to form a sticky flux leading to accelerated corrosion in metal and severe damage to sensitive electronics. ABC Powder is prohibited in most countries in air hangers as it affects aluminium so badly that any plane would have to be totally dissembled and checked.”

Why you should not release a powder extinguisher inside a building!


10) Positioning of extinguishers
Extinguishers should be available for immediate use at all times. 

Extinguishers should be located:

  1.  in conspicuous positions on brackets, on floor stands or within cabinets;
  2.  where they will be readily seen by persons following an escape route;
  3. most suitably, near to room exits, corridors, stairways, lobbies and landings;
  4.  in similar positions on each floor, where floors are of similar appearance;

Extinguishers should not be located

  1.  where a potential fire might prevent access to them;
  2.  over or close to heating appliances;
  3.  in concealed positions behind doors, in cupboards or deep recesses;
  4.  where they might cause obstruction to exit routes;
  5.  in positions in rooms or corridors away from exit routes unless they arenecessary to cover a particular hazard;
  6. where they might be damaged, e.g. by hotel-housekeeping trolleys or
    food-chain roll-cages.

A video showing good examples of locating extinguishers

11) Travel Distances
Maximum travel distances from a fire to an extinguisher:

  • Class A – 30 metres (or 60mtr between extinguishers)

Class A fuel

  • Class B – 10 metres (or 20mtr between extinguishers)

Class B fuel

  • Class C – 30 metres (or 60mtr between extinguishers)

Class C fuel

  • Class D – cases by case basis

Class D fuel

  • Class F – 10 metres (or 20mtr between extinguishers)

Class F fuel

  • Electrical equipment fire risk – 10 metres (or 20mtr between extinguishers)

Class electrical

12) Class A Provision
Class A materials are generally present in all premises. The basic scale of extinguisher provision recommends in cases where portable fire extinguishers are the only means of first aid fire defence is at least a minimum of two extinguishers on any floor that offer a combined rating of 26A on each floor.

13) Class F

The coverage required for a class F is calculated from the surface area of liquid risk in square metres. If more than two 75F extinguishers are required a fixed system should be considered.

We do hope this has helped you!

Which part of this blog has helped you?

Was there anything important we missed off?

14) Download your free fire log book here.

free fire log book


photo credit: Fire Protection Online, Elite fire, Wiki Commons



Northamptonshire Firefighters are to strike again

Northampton Firefighters are to strike over pension age.

Northamptonshire fire fighters are to take part in a five hour nationwide strike on October 19 from 6:30pm to 11:30pm amid a row over pensions.

The government is proposing that firefighters should continue working up to the age of 60. Click here for more on this story

Remember the fire safety order 2005 states that you must carry out a sufficient fire risk assessment of your premises should you be the “responsible person“.  This also applies to common areas of flats, HMO’s and buildings that have shared staircases.

For a special price we can carry out a fire risk assessment at your premises from only £197.



The Fire Safety Act

If you are confused with the fire safety act, you have come to the right place. We aim to make the following information easy to understand and where possible jargon free.

The fire safety act or officially known as the regulatory reform fire safety order 2005.

Firstly, the responsible person. Who could be the owner, someone who is in charge overall for fire safety, a landlord or even the Managing Director of a business.

If you are one of the above then it is your responsibility to carry out a fire risk assessment as detailed in the fire safety act. You could do this yourself if you feel you are competent enough,  however there have been many examples of prosecutions to businesses for having insufficient fire risk assessments.

building on fire

Is it really worth the risk after all you wouldn’t represent yourself in a court of law, you would probably get a lawyer or solicitor do this. As the consequences of not adhering to the fire safety act could be more severe why not get a professionally qualified person to do this for you as this would save you time and possibly money too.

So first thing you need to do is get a fire risk assessment done by a professional. The fire risk assessment should be reviewed on a regular basis. As things change quickly within business we recommend this should be reviewed annually.

photo credit:photopin cc

Malton Jockey deaths Landlord sent down.

A few years ago a couple of horse jockeys died in a fire in a block of flats in Malton.  The caretaker, of Brotherton, North Yorkshire, started the fire in a drunken act of revenge after being refused entry to a party, his trial at Leeds Crown Court heard in December 2010.

He lit rubbish which had been left in the communal entrance to the Tannery flats.

The fire quickly took hold as the stairwell acted like a chimney, forcing many of the occupants to jump from the building or climb down drainpipes. Unfortunately the two young jockeys were unable to escape due to being on the top floor.

The caretaker was convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison.

The Landlord from Norton,  pleaded guilty to breaching four fire safety regulations. He has been jailed for 12 months.

Leeds Crown Court heard that the landlord had stored combustible materials under the communal stairs to the flats.

He had also failed to do a fire risk assessment.

Two years after the fire he breached the same regulations at a different property.

Please don’t let this happen to your business by getting a fire risk assessment done by ourselves you could help prevent tragedies like this happening. For the sake of £197 is it really worth risking it!


Malton deaths could have been avoided

The Malton deaths is such a tragedy that could have been averted, my heart goes out to the families of such a disaster.

Unfortunately, a landlord who didn’t start the fire will be going through hell I would imagine right now. It is such a shame that someone who didn’t start the fire has the deaths of two young people on his hands. He is due to be prosecuted in May for failing to carry out a fire risk assessment of the the flats at Tannery flats on Buckrose Court. You can see the full story here.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 it is by law that you must carry out a fire risk assessment should you employ more than five people however this also applies should you be a landlord or you are a “responsible person” for HMO’s.

Caution, should you fail to have a fire risk assessment done you could get prosecuted by the Fire Service don’t let this happen to you. Get one done for a  from only £197.


Do you really need an automatic fire alarm?

Have you been in a situation when a fire alarm company states that you need to have an automatic system with smoke detection or that you think you need one.

fire alarm 3d

Does this ring a bell? pardon the pun.
What the fire alarm installation companies do is that when a customer has a requirement for a fire alarm. They put in the highest level of cover they ‘think’ is appropriate e.g. L2, L3 or in some extreme cases L1.

*However in hotels, guest houses, b&bs and where there are sleeping occupants in the business premise then an L1 or L2 systems are needed as stated in BS5839 code of practise.

This is because they are making sure that they cover themselves first against any repercussions that could happen from the result of putting in a lower category system e.g.. M (manual system)  system or a L4 automatic system.

However if the company had a fire risk assessment done first correctly by a competent fire risk assessor who is qualified – sometimes a manual system is sufficient and only minor alterations (if required at all) to the the building are needed, like putting vision panels in rooms that are known as ‘inner rooms’.

An automatic fire alarm system could costs 3-4k (being very modest here) against a fire risk assessment which costs £300 plus around £500- £1000 (depending on how many rooms) for the installation of vision panels.

I wasn’t the best at maths in school but I know which one is less expensive without doing any calculations and you are still abiding by the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005 and making your building safe.

Of course you will also be cutting down on your servicing costs too!

I hope you have taken something from this and in turn has helped your business save money.



Does your business have too many fire extinguishers?

Let’s help save your bottom line

A lot of fire extinguishers
Could this be your business?

Many businesses are looking to cut costs these days,  as are you probably and one way to help you save money is to reduce the amount of extinguishers in your premises.

You were probably told by your current or previous fire company that you need another extinguisher in some place or that you do not have enough on site.

Well I want to give you some advice on this, as I have worked for many fire companies and what seems to happen is that the engineer or salesman is on either commission or bonus to sell these to you. Initially you may think that what’s an extinguisher here or there, the thing is they soon add up and the additional cost of servicing these too can work out very profitable for the fire companies.

How do I know if I have too many?

The revised BS5306 positioning of portable fire extinguishers 2012 (no more jargon I promise) states that:

  • Extinguishers need to be placed on fire exits.
  • Where there is an area of high risk they need to be placed to avoid confusion on which type of extinguisher to use.
  • The walking distance between each extinguisher should not exceed 30 metres.
  • If more than one floor,  all the above applies except fire exits in which the following applies – where the corridor meets an enclosed staircase an extinguisher should be positioned.

Insider information!

There is a formula you could use too for say a large warehouse type building or any building for that matter. The formula is very simple to understand.

For e.g. your building measures 80m x 40m = 3200 square metres.

Say you have extinguishers that are 13A rated (this information is found on the extinguisher)  – 9 litre water extinguishers and 6 litre foams are both 13A rated.

Find the rating on the extinguisher

The formula is 3200 x 0.065 (‘0.065’ is the same for all calculations) = 208

208 is the fire rating for the whole building.

Just divide 208 by 13A and that will give you the amount of extinguishers required.

208/13 = 16 x13A rated extinguishers needed.

So for a 3200 square metre building 16 x13A extinguishers are required.


Additional info.

Under the change of BS5306 it is a must to have spare extinguishers on site – one of each type is ideal.

I hope this has helped and saved your business some money.



Is your fire risk asssessor competent?

Hi, this is my first blog. Exciting and scary at the same time. Thank you for reading it

I have just completed the IFSM (Institute of fire safety management) Fire Risk Assessor/ Fire Management Certificate Course. As part of this course we discussed the competency of fire risk assessors.

What came from this discussion was there are dodgy people who charge very little for a fire risk assessment and don’t have the knowledge to carry one out correctly which means they are putting themselves and others like you and me at risk.

As part of the changes in the fire legislation i.e. The R.R.O (regulatory reform fire safety order) it is a must that the ‘ responsible person’ must carry out or appoint a competent person to do their fire risk assessment for non-domestic businesses.

A lot more businesses are appointing fire risk assessors as they do not feel they are competent enough to do it themselves and don’t want to risk getting prosecuted from the local fire service should they get it wrong.

Makes sense!

However due to some fire risk assessors themselves not being competent/ qualified enough to carry out a thorough and correct fire risk assessment. Many businesses are falling foul to this and there have been occasions where the fire risk assessor and the business owner being prosecuted.

Please click here for recent convictions


Let me know what your thoughts are on this



What is a responsible person?

If you are wondering what a ‘responsible person’ is in simple terms I have given it my best shot to keep it as simple as possible without removing what is important to know.

I hope the below information helps!

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was introduced into England and Wales in October 2006. The Order replaces the previous fire safety legislation.

Any fire certificate issued under
the Fire Precautions Act 1971 will cease to have any effect.


It is now up to the ‘responsible person’ to carry out a fire risk assessment of their business premises.

A ‘responsible person’ is as described below taken direct from the government website.

In England and Wales, if you’re an employer, owner, landlord or occupier of business or other non-domestic premises, you’re responsible for fire safety and are known as the ‘responsible person’.

As the responsible person there are certain things you must do by law under the Fire Safety Order, which is enforced by your local Fire and Rescue authority.

The Fire Safety Order also applies if you have paying guests – eg if you run a bed and breakfast, guest house or let self-catering property “

As a ‘responsible person’ you must carry out the following:

  • Do a fire risk assessment and review it regularly
  • Tell your staff about the risks you have found
  • Put in place and keep up to date any fire safety measures to help remove or reduce the risk to life
  • Do an emergency plan
  • Provide your staff with information on fire safety instruction and fire training
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