All You Need to Know about Fire Extinguishers

Today, whether it is a workplace or a residential area, safety is everyone’s right. Providing a safe and secure work environment for employees and visitors is an obligation that every business must adhere to while having a safe residential property means securing your dear ones. A fire can have a disastrous impact on anybody unfortunate enough to be near it. Flames and heat from a fire can cause severe harm – breathing the hot air from the fire can kill the person immediately and the flames can cause life-threatening burns on the body. There are many other aspects of fires that can cause a great deal of damage to life and property and therefore fire protection equipment is a must. Fire safety is a crucial responsibility and to ensure it, it is vital to have adequate fire protection solutions in place. Today, there are various fire safety and protection accessories like fire extinguishers, fire hose reel and hydrant, fire sprinkler system and fire pump, fire blanket, fire indicator panel, exit and emergency lighting, safety gears, emergency information box, first aid kit and spill kits.

Fire Extinguishers

A fire extinguisher is a pressurised device that releases chemical or water to fight small fires. They are the best tools for controlling and extinguishing small fires and with proper training can be used by all. Additionally, this type of equipment also helps in clearing the path for people to exit the premises in case of large fire situations. Today in Australia, we have six classes of fire and based on these classes different types of fire extinguishers can be used for controlling the fire.

The common types of fire extinguishers are as follows:

  • Water-Fire Extinguisher
    Water fire extinguishers are used on Class A fire that is caused by ordinary combustibles like paper, wood and cardboard.
  • Foam Extinguisher
    Foam Extinguisher is also used for Class A and Class B fires. Along with ordinary combustibles like paper, wood and cardboard that cause Class A fire, a foam extinguisher also helps in extinguishers Class B fires caused by flammable and combustible liquids like paints, petrol and methylated spirits.
  • Dry Powder Extinguisher
    Dry Powder Extinguisher can be used for Fire classes A, B, C, D and E. Class A fire is caused through ordinary combustibles while class B is through ordinary combustible liquids. Class C fires are caused by flammable gases like LPG, BBQ gases and natural gas while combustible metals cause class D fires. Fires that are caused due to electrically energised equipment are categorised in the Fire Class E.
  • CO2 Extinguisher
    Carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguisher can be used for fires caused by combustible liquids and also for electrical fires, therefore it can be rightly said that CO2 fire extinguisher can be used for Class B and Class E fires.
  • Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher
    Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher can be used for Class F fires. Class F fires are usually kitchen fires caused due to cooking oil and deep fat fryers.

Australian Standards for Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers must be maintained in order to comply with various state and federal government standards. Fire extinguishers do not have an expiration date but several key standards must be adhered to comply with the guidelines. According to Australian Workplace Safety standards, portable fire equipment is required to be regularly inspected, tested and serviced by an accredited professional.

The guidelines in the Australian Standard AS 1851 Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment (www.standards.org.au) are as follows:

  • All fire extinguisher must be inspected every six months.
  • If an extinguisher does not have a pressure gauge, it needs to be weighed to check if it is still full.
  • Some fire extinguishers may be needed to be emptied, pressure tested and then refilled every 3 to 5 years.
  • The fire extinguisher testing interval should be recorded on a label or metal tag attached to the unit.
  • Visual inspection of the fire extinguisher would show its serviceable condition.
  • Depending on the type of fire extinguisher, an overhaul is required every one to five years. (www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au).
  • A fire extinguisher must be refilled every five years even if it is only partially used.
  • Fire extinguishers are required to be recharged after every use.

All business and property owners are required to comply with the standards under penalty of law. The business owners and property owners should ensure an adequate number of fire extinguishers and safety equipment is available as well as reliable escape routes should certain exits be blocked. It is also important to read the AS1851-2012 to make sure compliance is absolute or there could be some hefty fines to deal with.

At Victorian Fire Protection, we not only offer fire extinguishers but also fire extinguisher services. We ensure proper placement, installation, maintenance and repair of fire extinguishers according to Australian standards including AS 3676, AS 4353, AS 2444, AS 1851 and AS 1850. We also offer fire warden and fire equipment training. Our fire training course complies with the Australian Standard 3745 Emergency Control Organizations. Our nationally accredited fire warden training program would equip the members with the required skills to safely evacuate your workplace and use fire extinguishers. This training would ensure that all your employees are ready to deal with emergency fire situations. To connect with us via a telephone call us on 1300 974 877 or visit At https://www.vfp.com.au/ for further information.

All You Need to Know about Fire Extinguishers
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