Fire Extinguisher Advice

Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Fire Safety at home and in the workplace

Here at Firemart you will find lots of advice and information on fire safety equipment whether you require equipment for your home, work or business premises. There is no fire safety law that governs fire safety in the home. but it's important to have adequate fire safety protection equipment including fire extinguishers and fire blankets as well as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to alert you in the event of a fire. Fire extinguishers in any business environment or workplace need to comply with relevant British Standards and be commissioned and installed and regularly serviced in line with BS (British Standards) 5306-3: 2009. All businesses are required to have a fire risk assessment completed by a 'competent person'. Please see below for further information.

Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Fire Safety Legislation?

In this new fire safety blog we will bring you information about the fire safety law that governs the United Kingdom. At the present time, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland each have their own laws governing fire safety.

Where are the fire safety laws applicable?

The laws apply to more or less all building and premises including (but not limited to):

  • hotels, guesthouses and hostels
  • Public buildings such as libraries, churches, places of worship, church halls etc
  • Shops
  • Schools, universities, sports centres, swimming pools etc
  • Warehouses, factories, shops and offices
  • Restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs
  • Care homes, Doctors surgeries and hospitals

    Where are the fire safety laws NOT applicable?

    The laws do not apply in people’s private homes including private flats inside a larger unit or block of flats. For England and Wales, common areas of flats (staircases, entrances and corridors) are included in the legislation but this is NOT the case in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

    Who is the responsible person? The responsible person is the person who is in charge of and responsible for sire safety. This may be a company as well as an individual person. Broadly, the responsible person may be someone who controls the premises e.g. the business owner, the occupier of the premises or if you employ people to work at a site.

    The responsible person has responsibility in relation to fire safety for anyone who is on the premises (legitimately) or people who may be affected by a fire at the site,.

    The responsible person must ensure that people are safe from fire. You should carry out a fire risk assessment and record your findings.

    Fire risk assessment

  • Identify the hazards

    Find out what fire hazards there may be in your premises including identifying sources of ignition and sources of fuel. For example, do you have lots of old paper or wood lying around as this could be a source of ignition. Do you have a fuel store? This would be a source of fuel.

  • Who is at risk?

    Identify all of the people who may be at risk from using your premises. This would include staff, visitors and members of the public. You should also ensure that you consider anyone who may need particular or special attention such as people with disabilities, the elderly and children etc.

  • The level of risk

    Where possible, fire hazards should be removed and any remaining fire risks should be minimised. There are many different ways that the responsible person can evaluate and reduce risk including:

  • Providing firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishersandfirst aid supplies equipment
  • Training for staff with regular updates and training for new staff
  • How are potential fires detected and people warned? E.g. do you have a fire alarm system and smoke alarms etc
  • Provide information on fire safety
  • Plan escape routes including fire exits, signs and emergency lighting

    Ensure that you maintain records of the fire risk assessment and consider making an emergency plan. Ensure that all fire safety equipment including fire extinguishers, emergency lighting etc is maintained and that records of maintenance and testing etc are kept. Ensure that all employees receive training that includes what to do in the event of a fire and how to raise the alarm. Should staff will also need to be trained as fire wardens/fire marshals.

    Ensure that you fire risk assessment is regularly reviewed and updated. It may also need to be updated if you change the uses of the premises or extend them

    Fire Safety Law The following are the relevant laws are applicable in each country:

  • England and Wales: The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005
  • Scotland: The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006
  • Northern Ireland: The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010.

    Fire authorities are the organisation that can enforce the fire safety legislation. They may conduct visits to sites and they can also prosecute. If there are major life-threatening issues then they can also prevent the premises from being used.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Fire Safety Facts and Figures?

    In today’s world we are thrown facts and figures at an alarming rate but here are some fire safety facts and figures that are taken from the official Home Office Document ‘Fire Statistics England 2014/2016’, published in June 2016:
  • Around 496,000 fie related incident were attended to by fire and rescues services in England in 2014/2015. This is a significantly smaller figures than incident attended in 2003/2004 when the figure was around 1,016,000. Of the incident attended in 2014/2015, approximately 155,000 were fire-related and 31,300 were dwelling fire incidents.
  • 36% of deaths in accidental dwelling firs in 2014-2015 were caused by smokers’ materials. For every million people living in England there were 4.8 fire related fatalities in 2014-2015.
  • 46% of all fires in England in 2014-2015 occurred between 4pm and 10pm with the peak of fires being between 7pm and 8pm.
  • For fatalities caused by fire in England in 2014-2015, 41% of people were aged 65 and over.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart What causes fires?

    Fires occur when there is a chemical reaction between heat, oxygen/air and fuel. All three elements must be present for a fire to start. If any one of the elements is removed the fire will be extinguished. Fire extinguishers operate in a variety of ways but all fire extinguishers remove one or more of the elements therefore extinguishing the fire.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Which Fire Extinguisher types do I need?

    There are different fire extinguishers types that are available to purchase including water, dry powder, foam, wet chemical and carbon dioxide.  Each type of extinguisher is classified and identified according to the type of fire that it will put out.  It is essential that the correct type of fire extinguisher is selected for the type of fire that it will need to extinguish.  Always remember that staff should be trained in the safe use of fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers are pressurised containers and should always be handled with caution. You can visit our Fire Safety Equipment Selector section that will identify the specific types of extinguishers that can be used in many places such as the home, office, workplace etc. You can also use the quick reference chart below which tells you which type of fire extinguisher can be used on each type of fire safety risk. Only CO2 fire extinguishers and powder fire extinguishers are suitable for use on fire involving electrical equipment.  


    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart How do fire extinguishers work?

    There are two main types of fire extinguisher: Stored Pressure and Cartridge Operated. Stored Pressure fire extinguishers are fully pressurised cylinders that contain a fire fighting agent and propellant. Cartridge operated fire extinguishers are not pressurised but contain a small gas cartridge that discharges into the unit when it is activated. Most extinguishers are made from steel or aluminium. 

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart How many fire extinguishers do I need?

    The number of fire extinguishers required depends up on the size of the premises and the risks involved.  As a general guide, no person should ever be more than 30 metres away from a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers should always be placed where they are easily accessible. The type of building and the use will mean that different numbers and types of extinguishers will be required. Further information is available from a Fire Protection Engineer or your local Fire Service.


    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Why are all fire extinguishers red?

    A 1985 EU directive means that all fire extinguishers in the UK are red.  Each extinguisher contains a small colour band that indicates the type of extinguisher (please see below for more information)

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Where to locate fire extinguishers:

    Fire extinguishers should be located in locations where they can easily be viewed and they are quickly and easily accessible in case of an emergency. Fire extinguishers should be located on wall brackets or fire extinguisher stands and located on emergency escape routes.

    Fire extinguishers should be securely hung on wall brackets and attached to walls. It is also permissible to locate fire extinguishers on fire extinguisher floor stands or fire extinguisher boxes that can also be attached to walls. Fire extinguishers should not be placed directly on the floor. If wall mounted then for fire extinguishers up to 4kg in weight, the top of the handle should be at a maximum height of 1.50 metres from the floor. For fire extinguishers more than 4kg in weight, the top of handle should have a maximum height of 1.00 metre from the floor.

    Throughout a building you should not have to travel more than 30 metres from fire extinguisher to fire extinguisher. If you are placing two fire extinguishers (for example one number 2kg carbon dioxide fire extinguisher and one number 6ltr water) to provide fire protection in an office then fire extinguishers should be grouped together to form a fire point.
    Generally, there should be at least one fire extinguisher on every floor a building and there should be one extinguisher for every 200 square metres of floor space

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Our top tips for locating fire extinguishers:

  • Ensure that fire extinguishers are located where they are easily accessible and visible.
  • Ensure that fire extinguishers are wall mounted on brackets or that they are placed on floor stands.
  • Ensure that fire extinguishers are located along exit routes and that there is a distance of no more than 30 metres between fire extinguishers.
  • Ensure that extinguishers are located near to room exits, landings, lobbies and stairways meaning that people can use fire extinguishers to help them to safely evacuate a building in the event of a fire.
  • Ensure that a fire extinguisher identification sign (ID sign) is located above a fire extinguisher as this will instruct people on how to operate the extinguisher in the case of a fire.
  • If wall mounted then for fire extinguishers up to 4kg in weight, the top of the handle should be at a maximum height of 1.50 metres from the floor. For fire extinguishers more than 4kg in weight, the top of handle should have a maximum height of 1.00 metre from the floor

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart What to do in the event of a fire emergency:

    Remember that all work places should have a Fire Risk Assessment that has been carried out by a competent person in line with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. An up-to-date fire risk assessment helps to ensure the safety of your premises, property and life and is essential in ensuring that you have adequate fire protection (including sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers etc. as applicable) and making sure that all fire safety equipment is regularly maintained in accordance with current standards. As part of a fire risk risk assessment you should also consider what will happen in the event of an emergency inlcuding having an emergency plan in place to ensure that the premises can be quickly and safely evacuated. You shodul also ensure that all staff have received training in basic fire safety awareness and that this training includes instruction on how to use and operate fire extinguishers and how to safely tackle a fire. Nominated staff should also be designated as Fire Marshals/Fire Wardens and should receive appropriate training.

  • In the event of a fire emergency remember to remain CALM.
  • Sound the alarm and evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible. Everyone should leave the building and move to a safe area.
  • Call the Fire Brigade: remember to give them as much information as possible including any details about the fire, your loaction etc.
  • Fire extinguishers are designed to tackle small fire and to be used so that people can use them to extinguish a fire that may be blocking their safe exit from a building. Remember that fires can grow very quickly and aggressively.
  • Never put yourself or others at risk
  • Turn off the electrical supply if possible
  • When leaving a fire area, close all doors behind you and DO NOT stop to collect your possessions.
  • Ensure that no one returns to the premises until told to do so.

    All fire extinguishers are supplied complete with labels and the labels contain instructions on how to use the fire extinguisher in the event of a fire. In addition, fire extinguisher identification signs (ID signs) and they should be supplied and stuck on the wall above each fire extinguisher but do remember that units require an on-site commissioining service as indicated below and required by BS5306-3: 2009. Fire extinguisher ID signs also provide instructions on how to use fire extinguishers. All staff should familiarise themselves with the different types of fire extinguishers and the types of fire that they can be used to combat. You should ensure that anyone who has to use a fire extinguisher has received training in its use

    If you extinguish a fire make sure that it is completely extinguished and make sure that the fire extinguisher is recharged or replaced as soon as possible.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Classes of Fire:

    Each type and brand of Fire Extinguisher will be tested before it is granted a fire rating.  The Fire rating tells you what type of fire the extinguisher can be used on (e.g. Class A or B etc.) and the number tells you the size of fire that the extinguisher will put out.  For example, our 6 litre water fire extinguisher offer a fire rating of 13A and the 9 ltr water extinguisher offers a rating of 21A meaning that it will extinguish a larger fire. 
    Class A: Fires that involve common combustible materials such as wood, paper, straw, textiles, soft furnishing and materials. They are usually found in commercial and domestic settings.
    Class B: Fires that involve liquids or materials that liquefy such as petrol, oils, paints and fats.
    Class C: Fires that involve the combustion of gases such as methane, propane, acetylene, butane and natural gas.
    Class F: Fires that involve cooking oil or fats.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Types of Fire Extinguisher:

    Extinguisher types can be identified by the special colour banding that is shown on each extinguisher can. 
    The types, colours and uses of extinguishers are shown below:

    Water Fire Extinguishers

    Colour Banding

    Red

    Fire Class

    A

    Water Fire Extinguishers offer protection against Class A fires that typically involve common combustible materials such as wood, paper, straw, textiles, soft furnishing and materials.  Remember not to use Water Fire Extinguishers on fires that involve live electrical equipment.


    Foam Fire Extinguishers

    Colour Banding

    Cream

    Fire Class

    A & B

    Foam Fire Extinguishers offer protection against Class A and B Fires that typically involve liquids or materials that liquefy such as petrol, oils, paints and fats.  Remember not to use Foam Fire Extinguishers on fires that involve live electrical equipment. 
    Foam extinguishers form a layer over the top of the burning substance and remove oxygen from the fire.  Foam Fire Extinguishers may also be referred to as AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam)

     

    Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguishers

    Colour Banding

    Black

    Fire Class

    B

    Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers offer protection against Class B fires that involve liquids or materials that liquefy such as petrol, oils, paints and fats.  Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers discharge the extinguisher content under pressure which replaces the air surrounding the fire with the inert CO2 gas which does not support combustion therefore extinguishing the fire.
    Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers are safe for use on live electrical equipment.  Please note that users SHOULD NOT hold the extinguisher horn when the extinguisher is in use as this can cause freeze burn to the skin.  Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers do not leave a residue. 


    Powder Fire Extinguishers

    Colour Banding

    Blue

    Fire Class

    A, B, C

    Powder Fire Extinguishers offer protection against Class A, B and C Fires and are a general multi-purpose fire extinguisher.  Powder Fire Extinguishers are safe to use on live electrical equipment but the powder residue may also cause harm to some equipment. 
    Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers work as the Powder reacts with the fire and the powder spreads therefore extinguishing the fire. 


    Wet Chemical (F-class) Fire Extinguishers

    Colour Banding

    Yellow

    Fire Class

    A and F

    Wet Chemical (F-Class) Fire Extinguishers offer protection against fires that involve cooking oil or fats.  Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers also offer a small ‘A’ Fire Rating.  No other type of fire extinguisher will be effective against fires involving cooking oil or deep fats. 


    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Quality Approvals and guarantees:


    Many of our products offer a range of recognised UK and European quality approvals to provide our customers with the highest confidence in the products they purchase from FireMart..

    Two of the most common approvals used for UK portable fire extinguishers are CE Mark and BS EN 3 Kitemark. Our budget range of fire extinguishers are CE Marked and our premium range of fire extinguishers offer BS EN 3 KiteMark and CE Mark approved. Our range of Chrome and Polished fire extinguishers also offers the CE Mark. Please see our complete fire extinguisher ranges for more information:

    Guarantees:

    Fire extinguisher range:

    Approvals

    Guarantee

    Premium KiteMarked range (red)

    BS EN 3 Kitemark
    CE Mark

    5 years *

    Budget range (red)

    CE Mark

    1 year *

    Chrome and polished

    CE Mark

    1 year *


    * Fire extinguisher guarantees are valid provided that the fire extinguisher is serviced from new in accordance with BS 5306: 3: 2009 by a trained, competent fire service engineer using genuine spare parts. This guarantee does not cover defects caused by accident, misuse or neglect. Confirmation of servicing history may be required when making a claim under warranty. Please see our Terms and Conditions of Sale for further information.

    BS EN3 Kitemarked Extinguishers:
    Our premier range of fire extinguishers offer the BS EN3 Kitemark. The Kitemark on a portable fire extinguisher provides a visible endorsement and quality approval from the British Standards Institution (BSi), the UK national standards body, of a manufacturer's commitment to quality and the production of quality products. In order to achieve the KiteMark, fire extinguishers are subjected to rigorous testing by BSi to ensure consistent quality in the products and at all stages of production. Random samples are selected and are submitted to BSi for testing to confirm full compliance with the material, design and construction, functional, dimensional and marking requirements detailed by the standard.

    CE Mark:
    From May 2002, all fire extinguishers which operate under pressure have to be manufactured according to the requirements of the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED). All fire extinguishers sold by FireMart are CE Marked in full compliance with the legislation.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Maintenance and Servicing of Fire Extinguishers:

    Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the ‘responsible person’ has a duty to ensure that appropriate fire fighting is provided and maintained.  The responsible person can be a building or business owner, tenant or landlord.  The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to ALL non-domestic properties in England and Wales.  The responsible person should ensure that all fire extinguishers that are provided in non-domestic premises including offices, warehouses etc. are installed and maintained by a competent person in line with British Standards. BS5306-3: 2009 is a British Standard Code of Practice that provides recommendations on current best practice for the commissioning, installation, service and maintenance of fire extinguishers. Although BS 5306-3: 2009 is not a mandatory or Statutory legal instrument it is the system that most qualified fire service engineers are trained and operate to. Should a business receive a visit from the fire authorities then the the responsible person will need to be able to demonstrate that all reasonable steps have been taken to provide adequate fire equipment and that the equipment provided is effective and in efficient working order with regular maintenance being undertaken by a competent person. The responsible person has a legal responsibility to maintain a record of fire safety procedures, equipment and service schedules.

    Here at FireMart, we supply a cost effective solution for the purchase of new fire extinguishers and other portable fire fighting equipment and ancillary goods.  We do not undertake the installation or servicing of equipment but all of our equipment complies with current British requirements and can be commissioned, installed, maintained and serviced by any fire qualified extinguisher engineer.  It is recommended that all businesses employ the services of a reputable and trained fire protection engineer and company to ensure that extinguishers and equipment are installed and maintained in line with the relevant British Standards. When you purchase new equipment this should be installed and commissioned by a trained, competent and qualified fire extinguisher engineer in line with the requirements of BS 5306-3: 2009 which states that commissioning and installation should only take place at the location where fire extinguishers are to be installed and should not take place before equipment is transported. We are NOT able to undertake pre-delivery commissioning before we ship equipment. Should you require details of companies in your local area who offer installation, please contact us via email (info@firemart.co.uk) and we will be pleased to forward information to you. If your premises are inspected by the Fire Authorities then the responsible person will be required to prove that adequate equipment is provided, that it is fit for purpose

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Installation:

    Fire extinguishers should be commissioned and checked by a competent person (e.g. trained fire engineer) onsite before they are installed.  The initial service will include an Engineer checking that the extinguisher is in working order and checking the pressure and weight of the extinguisher.  The Engineer will certify the extinguisher and attache a service label.  The servicing standard BS 5306-3: 2009 puts the onus on the business to employ a competent person and to ensure that extinguishers are installed and serviced to this Standard.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Basic Service:

    An annual ‘basic’ service should be carried out each year by a competent person.   The basic service will usually involve checking all parts including tubes, gauges, safety devices and operating mechanisms to ensure that the extinguisher is safe and in good working order at the time of service.  The Engineer will sign the service label to show that a service has been carried out and it is advisabel to record this viist in your fire log book.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Visual inspection:

    In between the annual service, the responsible person (or nominated representative) should ensure that a visual inspection of fire extinguishers is undertaken.  The visual inspection should take place at least quarterly, but preferably monthly.

    The visual inspection will include checking that the extinguisher:
    • is located correctly.
    • is unobstructed and visible
    • has a label that is clean, legible and that the operating instructions can be clearly seen
    • is not obviously damaged or tampered with (i.e. no broken tamper indicators or seals)
    • Has a pressure gauge (where fitted) that reads in the operable range.
    You should maintain a record to show that monthly inspections have been carried out. If you notice problems with any of the fire fighting equipment then you should immediately notify your fire service engineer and arrange for him/her to undertake a corrective visit as soon as possible,

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Extended Service:

    Every five years, all Powder, Foam, Water and Wet Chemical extinguishers should be discharged tested and refilled (extended service).  This means that a competent person will empty and refill the extinguisher.  At this time they will also check that the inside of the extinguisher is in good working order (i.e. not corroded etc.)

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Overhaul:

    Every ten years, carbon dioxide extinguishers require hydraulic testing where the extinguisher will be removed from site and overhauled.

    All extinguishers should be replaced every twenty years.
    Types Basic Extended Overhaul  Replacement
    Water/Foam  Annual 5 yearly --- At 20 years
    Powder  Annual 5 yearly --- At 20 years
    Carbon Dioxide Annual --- 10 yearly At 20 years
    Wet chemical Annual 5 yearly --- At 20 years

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Fire blankets:

    Fire blankets should also be inspected regularly to check that they are in working order. For more information about fireblankets see our fire blanket information page.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Fire Safety Signage:

    It's very important to provide fire safety signage in the workplace as fire safety signage can be used to help people to find an escape route as well as to identify the location of fire safety equipment (such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets etc). Here at Firemart, we supply both photo luminescent (glow in the dark) signs as well as standard white rigid signs. Your local fire protection company will be able to advise you of the types, numbers and locations of signs that are needed or your requirements may have been identified through a fire risk assessment.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005:

    The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect in October 2005 and affects all non-domestic property in England and Wales. Scotland is subject to the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and in Northern Ireland as the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010. All of the differing types of new regulations meant that many old fire safety requirements such as the Fire Precautions Act 1971 (FPA) and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 were abolished to be replaced with legislations that is mainly based around fire risk assessment. The legislation and requirements of each country does vary slightly but the broad principles remain the same. The advice here focuses on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 that is applicable to England and Wales. For advice for Northern Ireland Scotland, please find an alternative advice source.

    Where does The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 apply?
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 affects all NON-DOMESTIC property and this includes all workplaces, schools, factories, hospitals, bars, factories. The act also extends to temporary structures (such as marquees and tents) as well as buildings used in the voluntary and hospitality sectors (such as community centres etc.). Communal areas of flats and apartment buildings are also included in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

    What do I have to do to comply with the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005? Basically you will need to conduct a fire risk assessment of your premises or have someone else conduct one for you. The fire risk assessment needs to take into account visitors and anyone who may be in your premises or in the local area. The fire risk assessment needs to include consideration of fire evacuation procedures as well as the provision of fire safety monitoring, alarm and fighting equipment (such as fire extinguishers etc).

    The person who is in charge of the building (this may be a business owner, owner or occupier of a building or employer) is now known as the RESPONSIBLE PERSON. It is the responsible person who is now LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE for fire safety in their premises. The responsible person has overall responsibility for ensure the fire adequate fire safety of their premises and anyone who may use them. Special consideration must also be given to any users who may have special needs such as disabled persons, children or the elderly.

    To summarise, the responsible person needs to ensure that:

  • A fire risk assessment has been carried out.
  • The fire risk assessment must identify any possible fire safety related dangers and risks and where possible the dangers and risks must be removed or reduced as much as possible. Fire precautions (e.g. fire fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers) should be provided for any remaining risks that cannot be removed
  • Ensure that warning systems are in place to allow people in the premises to be warned of any fire safety emergencies
  • Make sure that any fire fighting equipment, fire detection or emergency systems are adequately maintained and that (where applicable) written records of maintenance are maintained
  • Do you staff receive training in fire safety risks at work and what actions and precautions to take in the event of a fire safety emergency? Do you also have fire wardens/fire marshal in place and have they received appropriate training? Make sure that all new staff receive receive training and that all staff receive regular update and refresher training. You should also consider providing information/training for all other persons working/visiting your premises including contractors.
  • Make sure that fire safety exit routes are maintained and are free from rubbish and debris.
  • Exit routes should be clearly identified (i.e. through the use of appropriate signage)
  • In most cases, you should keep a written record of your fire risk assessment but you should always keep copies of maintenance records etc. ALso think about access to these documents should the worst happen. Do you have electronic copies of copies of documents that could be kept off site?
  • You need to ensure that you have a plan that covers all emergencies and this may often include a copy of the building.
  • You should make sure that you have a plan of how to contact the emergency services as well as the information that they may need to gain access to your building. Do you have any issues with difficult access? Do you have any special risks that you need to tell the emergency services about?
  • The fire risk assessment should be regularly reviewed and updated as and when required (but always where changes have taken place that may impact upon fire safety such as change or use, re-design, extending premises, changing working practices or adding staff).

    Who enforces The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?
    Local fire authorities are now responsible for enforcing fire safety law and they have the powers of inspection of non domestic properties. If your premises are inspected and you are found to be failing in some areas, then an enforcement notice can be issued. An enforcement notice will detail the activities that you need to undertake to remedy an areas that the fire safety authority have identified as not meeting The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The fire authorities can also issue a prohibition notice that means that work can be stopped and access restricted to premises if a potential fire hazard has been identified. Thirdly, if the fire authority feels that premises represent a very high risk then an alterations notice can be issued. In high risk workplaces alterations notice can remain in place at all times. This means that businesses or organisation must inform the fire authority before they make an changes to premises that could significantly affect fire safety.

    Where can I find more information and assistance on the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?
    Firstly, don't panic! The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is a serious piece of legislation but if you have a well run business or premises then it's easy to ensure that you comply. You are making a good first step by looking into fire safety equipment! There are lots of companies out there that can help to ensure that you comply but there are also many independent routes that will provide you with relevant information.

    Here are a few of our favourites:
    Your local fire authority: a good starting point is to contact your local authority who will be able to point you in the right direction of support as well as having copies of information booklets that they will be able to provide. They may even be able to arrange a visit to your premises.

    The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) website (www.hse.gov.uk) provides much information on managing safety in the workplace. They produce some excellent safety guides as well as template documents etc.

    The Department for Communities and Local Enforcement is the Government Department that is responsible for fire safety management in England and Wales. The Department will also provide advice and guidance for businesses to help them comply with fire safety law. www.communities.gov./fire

    The small print:
    Whilst the information that we provide on The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is designed to help and assist you, it is intended as a guide only and Firemart does not accept any responsibility for the use, application or interpretation of the information provided in any way.

    Fire Risk Assessment: There are many companies that advertise fire risk assessment services and you may well opt to have a fire risk assessment conducted by an outside party. In this instance, the fire risk assessor therefore becomes your competent person. Do remember though that as the responsible person you will still be held accountable for all aspects of fire safety management and therefore it's important that you ensure that your fire risk assessment is correct, current and that all aspects of fire safety within your building/workplace comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

    When do I need a fire risk assessment?
    You need to have a written record of a fire risk assessment if your organisation or company employs MORE THAN FIVE PEOPLE. If you employ less than five people then you do not need a written record but we would always recommend that you keep a written record. If you have written records then you should also include any other records such as maintenance and training records and having a written fire risk assessment makes it easier to update and include any reviews or changes.

    Some points to think about when considering a fire risk assessment:
  • For a fire to start then it needs a source of ignition, fuel and oxygen. You may look at your origination to see where a fire could start? Do you carry out any high risk operations? Do you have any large stores of items that could catch fire? Do you use large amounts of electrical equipment that could cause an electrical fire? Could ducting or an air conditioning or eating system cause fire to spread quickly throughout the building? Don't forget to look outside the building as well as items stored outside could catch fire and may also be a target for arsonists.
  • A fire risk assessment is like a general risk assessment in that the risk assessment should identify risks posed by fire and implement measures to reduce of remove the risks. Where risks cannot be entirely removed then measures should be put in place to minimise the risks. You may already have a number of measures in place and the fire risk assessment may highlight further steps that you can take. Measures that can be included in fire risk assessments often including the provision of fire fighting equipment (fire extinguishers etc), fire alarm detection, emergency lighting and the provision of staff training.
  • Think about the people who may be risk in the building. This includes any staff as well as visitors to the building and you need to consider any person who may require special assistance such as children and the elderly. Other factors to consider may include people working on your site who are not familiar with the site (contractors etc) as well as people who may work in the building alone or unsupervised (cleaners)
  • Make sure that you regularly update your fire risk assessment including when there are any changes in your business such as the way that jobs are carried out or if you change your building in any way. If you have a near miss then the fire risk assessment should also be reviewed. You also need to make sure that any new staff receive appropriate fire safety training and don't forget to review if you have new staff or differing types of people working in your building.

    Firemart's top tips for improving fire safety:
  • Identify and reduce of remove fire risks in your organisation
  • Remove highly flammable materials where possible
  • You should have a system in place that will detect and warn the occupiers of a building of a fire safety emergency. There are many types of systems that can be used from a simple manual system to a complex fire alarm and detection system. Whatever system you have in place, make sure that it works, that it has been tested and that you have evidence of the system being tested and used.
  • Ensure that you have fire fighting equipment (such as fire extinguishers) that is maintained by an authorised company. You should ensure that you maintain records of maintenance and testing
  • Ensure that you have records of the testing and maintenance of any fire alarm systems, emergency lighting systems etc and that they are maintained in accordance with current regulations
  • Ensure that your staff are trained in the safe use of fire fighting equipment
  • Ensure that you have a fire evacuation plan in place
  • Ensure that you have exits that are clearly identified (with safety signs) and that exits are always keep clean and clear and free from debris Ensure that you have a no smoking policy that complies (in England) with the Smoke Free Regulations 2007
  • Ensure that you not allow large amounts of combustible materials to accumulate in your buildings. This may include waste and other debris
  • ensure that your building is safe and secure from the outside to reduce the chances of arson and you should also make sure that you do not have items stored outside that are combustible and could cause a fire

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Guide to candle safety:

    Candles are becoming an ever-increasing home accessory and without doubt they can add a nice ambiance to any room and home but they can also be dangerous and particular caution should be exercised when using candles. Particular care must be taken when children and pets are present in the home. Here are a few quick and easy tis for using candles safely in your home:
  • Go fake! Many shops now sell fake candles that operate using batteries. You might not quite get the same glow from battery-operated candles but they are a great alternative for the safety conscious amongst us.
  • Ensure that candles are properly extinguished before you go to bed or when you leave a room.
  • Do not carry candles when they are lit or move them around and always be very careful of hot liquid wax as this will burn you if you come into contact with it.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles at all times and make sure that you also keep any matches or lighters out of the way of children and animals.
  • When lighting candles ensure that they are not too close to each other. Candles should always be placed away from any flammable materials such as curtains and soft furnishings etc.
  • Ensure that candles are placed in appropriate candle holders only that will stop the base from getting too hot and potentially burning through underneath.  

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Guide to carbon monoxide:

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that occurs when carbon-based materials (e.g. woods, oil, coal etc) does not burn properly. Poorly fitted and malfunctioning gas appliances and flues can also lead to carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide is tasteless, odourless and colourless and can be deadly to humans. Low-level exposure does not kill immediately but prolonged exposure can be deadly.

    How can I keep myself safe from Carbon Monoxide?

  • Ensure that any work carried out on gas appliances is ONLY undertaken by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer
  • Never use a BBQ inside or move a BBQ that has been lit inside
  • Ensure that wood burners etc are properly extinguished before you retire for the evening.
  • Ensure that gas appliances are used in well-ventilated spaces and that they are regularly maintained by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer
  • Have carbon monoxide alarms in your property and ensure that they are tested regularly and that the batteries are also changed regularly. Here at Firemartwe sell a self-contained carbon monoxide detectorwith free P&P and that offers great value. Carbon monoxide detectors have an audible alarm which will sound the machine detects carbon monoxide present and this will give you and your loved ones a warning that carbon monoxide is present and time to evacuate the premises.

    If you have any concerns about any of your appliances and you think that you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide then turn off the appliance as quickly as possible. Do not re-use until it has been confirmed by a trained professional as being fit for use again.

    Seek immediate medical attention to ensure that you have not been exposed to carbon monoxide. If you have been exposed the you may suffer from a range of symptoms including (but not limited to) headaches, nausea, dizziness breathlessness etc  

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Fire Safety in the home: creating a fire escape plan:

    We always hope that the worst will never happen but it’s is worth having a fire safety escape plan in place for your home just in case. In this blog we offer some simple tips about how to put together a simple escape plan:

  • Make sure that everyone in your family is aware of the plan, including children, and that your plan includes all family members, bot forgetting any pets and four-legged friends!
  • Try and ensure that your keys (which you will need to open doors when you exit the premises) are stored in the same location so that every family members knows where they are and that they can be quickly and easily accessed if you need to exit your premises quickly.
  • Make sure that you have a pre-defined escape route in place and that this is easy to access and free from trip hazards etc (as far as possible!) You also need to think about how you will be able to exit if your escape route is blocked. In most houses, the escape route will include exiting via stairs but what happens if you cannot use the stairs? In these circumstances, you may wish to consider having fire escape ladders on the first floor of the property as these will help you to exit from upstairs windows.
  • If smoke is coming through a door, then putting clothing, towels etc at the bottom of the door can help to slow down the smoke that is coming in.

    Fire Extinguishers and Fire Equipment, Firemart Firemart and the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Regulations:

    With effect from July 2007, the UK’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations require that all producers of electrical equipment are now obliged to pay for these items to be recycled when they become waste. Although we are mainly a fire safety equipment supplier, we do supply smoke alarms complete with batteries and these items come under the WEEE regulations.

    These regulations also require that all retailers both actively assist in delivering a UK wide WEEE collection infrastructure and encourage the participation of consumers in recycling electronic equipment. So that you can get your waste electrical goods recycled, we have contributed towards a national fund to assist local councils to further develop their existing waste electronics collection facilities, which will in turn allow producers of this equipment to meet their obligations. To remind consumers to recycle, all electrical items sold now carry the ‘crossed out wheeled bin’ symbol.

    Not all council sites are suitable to collect all types of waste electrical goods but to find out your nearest participating site (including other collection facilities that may not be operated by the council) and for advice on all aspects of recycling at home, please visit www.recycle-more.co.uk.

    WEEE Distributor take Back Scheme:
    FireMart is registered as a member of the WEEE Distributor Take Back Scheme and further customer information is available through www.recycle-more.co.uk. Firemart’s registration number is 9068.

    What does the crossed our wheelie bin symbol mean?
    This symbol should be displayed on all new electrical equipment that you purchase. When you see this symbol then you know that you should try and recycle and dispose of this product appropriately where possible.

    Where to dispose of electrical equipment?
    Wherever practical, old electrical waste should not be disposed of with your household waste as electrical equipment can contain toxins that contaminate land and are dangerous for human health.

    Firemart does not offer a take back service. However, recycling of your old waste has never been easier! You can locate your closest participating collection site at www.recycle-more.co.uk. Simply type in your postcode to find your nearest site!

    Other information:
    UK households dispose of over 1.2 million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste every year. This is the equivalent of 150,000 double decker buses and would be enough to fill the new Wembley Stadium 6 times over.

    Much of the UK’s electronic waste ends up in landfill sites, where toxins put communities at risk. Failure to segregate any type of recyclable material in the home will usually result in items being disposed of in a landfill site (buried in the ground in the UK) or being incinerated.

    To remind you to recycle, all new electrical products are marked with a crossed out wheeled bin symbol.