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Library: Standards: BS 5306-8:2012



   British Standards :
   BS 5266
      BS 5266-1
      BS 5266-7
      BS 5266-8
   BS 5306
      BS 5306-1
      BS 5306-3
      BS 5306-8
         BS 5306-8 B
         BS 5306-8 C, D
         BS 5306-8 F
   BS 5499
   BS 7671
   BS 5839
     BS 5839-1
     BS 5839-6
   BS 7937
   BS EN 2:1992
   BS EN 3
   BS EN 54
   BS EN 671
     BS EN 671-3
   BS EN 1869
   BS EN ISO 9001
   BSI’s PAS 79

BAFE Schemes :
   SP101 & ST104
   SP203-1

Other Items :
   CE Marking


Introduction

Below is a summary of good practice and the key points of the parts of BS 5306 part 8 relating to the selection and positioning of extinguishers in respect of general principles, class A cover and fires involving electrical equipment.

This standard, published October 2012, fully replaces BS 5306-8:2000, which is withdrawn.

This document is broken down into the following sections:

In addition to these areas, separate pages on this website deal with class B, class C, class D and class F fire hazards (links also available on the navigation right), for which this Standard also provides recommendations.

Throughout, references to the pertinent parts of the British Standards and/or other legislation have been included as footnotes. Readers are referred to the British Standard itself for full details and reminded that this is a summary only.

Scope of Standard

The standard applies to buildings and other premises1 and therefore includes:

  • Farms;
  • Outbuildings;
  • Sheds;
  • Mezzanine floors;
  • B&B’s and Guest Houses;
  • ‘Common areas’ (e.g. in HMOs, blocks of flats, shopping arcades, office blocks, etc.);
  • Offices, shops, etc. in larger premises; and
  • private dwellings (large and small2).

Aircraft, caravans and marine craft are excluded from the scope1.

Minimum Level of Cover

Attention is drawn to the fact that the levels detailed below are the minimum levels3, 4 specified and such levels should be increased:

  • if the findings of the overall fire risk assessment of the building determine that a higher level of portable extinguisher cover is appropriate3;
  • in locations where a fire could be particularly intense5;
  • in other locations identified by the fire risk assessment or the competent person5;

Furthermore, the levels below also exclude any additional extinguishers required as spares6.

Points Applicable in All Cases

  • A fire risk assessment should be carried out to identify any specific fire hazards in need of cover7 and to determine any requirements for increased levels of cover above those set out below7;
  • Sufficient spare extinguishers should be available so that discharged extinguishers may be replaced immediately after use8.
  • Normally, extinguishers should be sited:
    • conspicuously and where persons following an escape route will readily see them9 e.g. near to room exits, corridors, stairways, etc. and where they will not be damaged9;
    • near to the fire hazard concerned (but not so near to be inaccessible or, in the case of fire, to place the operator in undue danger)10, 11 and in any event within any travel distances set down within this standard (e.g. 30m for Classes A10 and C10, 10m for classes B10 and F10 and fires involving electrical equipment11);
    • such that, for classes B, D and F, they are ideally the first extinguisher likely to be encountered by a prospective operator9;
    • appropriately wall-mounted12 or positioned on fire-stands, fire-points or in cabinets13;
    • when in areas accessible by the public, with measures such as protective covers, boxes or alarms taken so as to reduce the possibility of extinguishers being vandalised or stolen14;
  • Extinguishers should be identified by:
    • position and type signs (e.g. ID signs)9; and
    • location signs (e.g. fire point signs)15 where the extinguisher is not both clearly visible and predominantly red.
  • For safety and convenience reasons, 6 litre AFFF foam extinguishers that have passed the electrical conductivity test of BS EN 3 are, in the vast majority of circumstances, a more appropriate recommendation16 than 9 litre water extinguishers of the same A-rating that have not passed the electrical conductivity test of  BS EN 3.
  • Powder extinguishers should generally not be specified for use indoors17, unless mitigated by a health and safety risk assessment17. Please note that there will remain circumstances where there provision may be desirable, for example:
    • in environments assessed unsuitable for water-based extinguishers due to the risk of freezing (which may go undetected and pose some health and safety hazards)18;
    • to cover fire hazards that other types of extinguisher cannot adequately cover such as:
      • class B 'running' fire hazards19;
      • class C fire hazards20; and
      • class D fire hazards21.
  • Extinguishing medium can damage the local environment - the user should discuss any concerns with the competent person22;
  • In any one storey of a building or single occupancy, all extinguishers should be of the same method of operation. Furthermore, all extinguishers for any one function (e.g. to cover class A hazards) should also be similar in shape, appearance and colour23;
  • Staff should be trained on using the equipment24.

Class A Cover – Carbonaceous Solids - Generally Applicable in All Premises and Occupancies

  • For all floors in all buildings there should always be at least two class A extinguishers25 with a minimum combined total class A rating of:
    • 26A26, 27; or
    • for floor areas more than 400m², 0.065×floor area (measured in m²)26.
  • Class A cover should be increased where:
    • a fire may be particularly intense;
    • in areas identified in the Fire Risk Assessment, or by the Competent Person.
  • Class A extinguishers should be sited such that there is not necessary to travel further than 30m to the site of any potential class A fire10. These travel distances should be reduced if there are doorways on this route10;

Cover for Fires Involving Electrical Equipment

  • All electrical equipment (excluding lighting fittings and power socket outlets themselves)28 should have Extinguishers of a type marked as “suitable for use on live electrical equipment” nearby29, and in any event so that it is not necessary to travel further than 10m11 to reach it.
  • Only non-conductive extinguishing media should be specified for use on electrical equipment30. Typically this would be carbon dioxide or powder, although as noted above, powder extinguishers should generally not be specified for use indoors17.

It is important to note that, as electricity does not burn, fires involving electrical equipment are in fact always fires of another class with the additional complication of the presence of an electrical hazard. Additionally, electrical equipment is unlikely to provide the major fuel source and fire extinguishers should therefore be decided on the basis of the other hazards in the area31 (class A are likely to apply in most cases).

Before tackling any fire involving electrical equipment with an extinguisher, that equipment should first be switched off11.

Extinguishers that have passed the discharge conductivity test in BS EN 3 when used correctly afford greater protection when inadvertently splashed onto electrical equipment32. For this reason our 6 litre AFFF foam extinguishers that have passed the electrical conductivity test of BS EN 3 are, in the vast majority of circumstances, a more appropriate recommendation16 than 9 litre water extinguishers of the same A-rating that have not passed the electrical conductivity test of  BS EN 3.

Note: The phrase “class E” is often misused to describe fires, hazards and cover concerning electrical hazards. However, there is no definition of a Class E in the standard BS EN 2, the British Standard that specifies the “Classification of fires”.

Full Copies of Standards

The British Standards are covered by copyright and are not available freely. However, these can be purchased at British Standard Online or alternatively, some libraries may carry copies of the more common standards.

Footnotes and References

  1. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 1.
  2. The near-exclusion of “small private dwellings” from the scope of the 2000 version of this standard no longer applies.
  3. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 8.1
  4. Note that any ambiguity concerning risk assessments being able to reduce the levels below has been removed in the 2012 version of this standard.
  5. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 8.2.2.
  6. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 10.
  7. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 4.1.
  8. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 10.
  9. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 6.1.
  10. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 6.4.
  11. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 9.4.
  12. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 6.3.
  13. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 6.3 Note.
  14. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 6.5.
  15. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 6.2.
  16. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 5.4.2 and 9.2.
  17. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 5.4.3.
  18. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 5.3.
  19. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 8.3.1.
  20. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 8.4.2 and BS EN 3-7:2004+A1.
  21. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 8.5.1.
  22. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 4.2.
  23. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 4.6.
  24. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 4.5.
  25. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 8.2.1
  26. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 8.2.1(a)2.
  27. Note the 13A exception for small single-occupancy floors in the previous 2000 version of this standard has been removed. Such floors now require 26A.
  28. Excluding electric lighting fittings and power socket outlets as per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 9.2.
  29. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 9.3.
  30. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 5.4.2.
  31. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 9.1.
  32. As per BS 5306-8:2012, clause 5.4.2 note.
 
 



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