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!

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Was there anything important we missed off?

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