What Commercial Builders Should Know About Australian Standard Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are a vital component of the fire safety plan for any workplace. If a small fire happens, Employees will be able to use a fire extinguisher to bring the fire under control, or perhaps to clear a route to safety. The design as well as manufacturing of fire extinguishers are strictly controlled. Fire extinguishers in Australian homes and workplaces must conform to safety standards for effectiveness and reliability. Nevertheless, there are various types of fire extinguisher that are designed to deal with different types of fires.

Installing fire extinguishers as part of construction fire precautions and fire safety plan involves a technical understanding of the present fire risks and requires on-site inspection. Being competently prepared means realizing the environment in terms of probably the most fire type to occur in the construction site. In that way, the correct extinguisher type can be correctly positioned within the workplace.

By law, each type of fire extinguisher must be clearly labelled with the types of fires that it can be used on safely and effectively. Labelling includes the lettered fire class as well as a picture of that type of fire. This warrants the fire extinguisher can be used safely by someone who is not familiar with the different fire classes and extinguisher types.

Fire Extinguishers for Commercial Buildings

 

fire extinguisher at a construction site
Photo Credit: Matt
Risinger

Fire extinguishers work by eliminating one or more of the three things a fire needs: heat, fuel, and oxygen. And the type of extinguisher used on a fire depends primarily on the type of fuel it’s burning.

Not every type of suppressant will be effective or safe to use on every type of fire. That is why different extinguisher types are filled with different types of fire suppressants.

The different classes of fire are determined by the type of fuel, these include:

  • Fire class A Combustibles such as paper, wood, and plastics
  • Fire class B Flammable liquids
  • Fire class C Flammable gases
  • Fire class D Metal fires
  • Fire class E Energised electrical equipment
  • Fire class F Cooking oils and fats
  • The different types of fire suppression are effective on different fire classes as follows:
  • Dry chemical powder – A, B, C, E
  • CO2 – A, B, E
  • Water – A
  • Foam – A, B, F
  • Wet chemical – A, F

 

Portable fire extinguishers location, mounting and display

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Extinguisher mounting heights

  • Max – 1200mm from floor to top of extinguisher handle
  • Min – 100mm from floor to bottom of extinguisher

Location and display of sign

  • Min – 2000mm above floor level.
  • At a point that makes them most apparent to a person of average height & visual acuity.
  • The extinguisher or extinguisher sign shall be clearly visible for up to 20 metres on approach.
  • The size of the sign shall be determined by location on and distance at which the sign must be legible.
  • A minimum of one sign must be provided above or adjacent to an extinguisher even if indicating the location of multiple or a mixed group of extinguishers.
  • The extinguisher and fire point location signs shall have a symbol, border and letters in white on a red field, complying with Australian Standard (AS) 2700.
  • The Australian Standard (AS) 2444 Portable Fire Extinguishers and Fire Blankets selection and location will provide comprehensive and specific information.

All fire extinguishers sold in Australia must carry a sticker from an officially accredited Certification Body.  

Consulting a fire safety specialist for your workplace will ensure that you have the right kind of fire extinguishers to combat the type of fires that could occur. A fire safety specialist will also ensure you have a comprehensive and compliant fire safety plan.

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