What are Fire Extinguishers Location Requirements?
by: Alex Pericleous
Fire extinguishers save lives. Countless times these devices have been used to quickly eliminate the threat of a fire. They minimise property damage, reduce injuries and prevent death. But understanding fire extinguishers location requirements is essential for people to find the device and use it as quickly as possible.
Some of the fire extinguishers location requirements include:
- Compliance with Australian Standard AS2444 – adjust the rules to conform to the building layout and the fire risks that are determined
- Types of fire extinguishers – there are several classes of fire extinguishers that are designed to be used for specific types of fires.
- Determine the type of fire risk first before purchasing the extinguisher for that area. For example there is a specific class of fire extinguisher for grease or cooking fires which should be located near a kitchen area
- Types of mounts to use – there are fire extinguisher cabinets available that would be appropriate for locations that are susceptible to damage from people traffic. Bracket mounts are also used in areas where there is not quite as much traffic. Others may simply stand the extinguisher in a corner area where it cannot be easily knocked over. All are adequate solutions so long as the location and height are in compliance Location and height – the fire extinguishers location requirements according to AS2444 instruct that the installation should be at least 10 centimetres off of the floor, and the top of the extinguisher should be no more than 1.2 metres above the floor. This keeps the extinguisher relatively safe from bumping with cleaning equipment or other items while also keeping the device easily reachable
- Distance from risk area – depending on the type of fire risk, the distance can range from 15 metres to 40 metres. For example Class A fire risks, which are the most common, would recommend 15 metres maximum distance according to the Australian Standards
- Signage – the signs that direct people to the location of a fire extinguisher must be easily visible down a typical corridor. The sign should be directly above the device, and specify the type of fires the extinguisher is used for and an arrow pointing to the extinguisher. The signs and the extinguishers themselves should have colour coding that will help people make fast decisions during an emergency. For example a Foam fire extinguisher - AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) fire extinguishers are painted red with a blue label are used on Class B fires (liquids such as petrol, paints, oils etc). A wet chemical extinguisher, used for fires from fats or cooking oils, would have a yellow coloured label. The size of the sign is determined by considering it must be readable from up to 20 metres away.
- Installation – the location for installing a fire extinguisher should be determined by a trained professional that can assess the fire risks and then recommend the location for install. Various criteria are considered in determining the location such as easy access, not too close to the fire risk, location of nearest exit, visual limitations or obstacles, and other criteria. Because so many factors are to be considered, using an experienced provider is highly recommended.
The fire extinguishers location requirements can help facility owners and managers to make sure their property is kept safe and the personnel who occupy or visit the location can feel safely protected in the event of a fire. Adhering to these location requirements can improve the chances of getting a fire safety certificate that proves the location is compliant with Australian fire safety standards.
Look for a fire safety services provider with extensive knowledge of Australian Standards and a clear understanding of all options regarding fire safety equipment and training. Check out our fire extinguisher inspection and Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Adelaide