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Chubb supports new British Standard to improve fire safety

19 April 2013

Chubb Fire & Security UK, a provider of security and fire safety solutions for businesses and industry nationwide, supports the new British Standard (BS5306-8:2012) for the selection and positioning of portable fire extinguishers to protect people and property and improve fire safety

One of the new recommendations is to place the appropriate fire extinguisher next to the associated risk. For example, businesses should position a Class F extinguisher no further than 10 meters from a kitchen facility, which uses cooking oils and fats. The new standard also cites a need for better signage so that if an extinguisher is removed from its mounting, it can be more easily identified and replaced during a safety inspection.

Suzanne Donovan, Marketing & Communications Director, Chubb, says that the new standard recognises the role of extinguishers not just in fighting fires but also in contributing to the safe evacuation of a building. “The new recommendations are practical, will reduce confusion within businesses regarding ‘responsibility’ and ultimately improve fire safety.” The standard has been reviewed after 12 years to align with the Fire Safety Order 2005 and the Fire (Safety) Scotland Regulations 2006.

The standard is useful in clarifying areas of responsibility such as defining the user as ‘the responsible person’ and a supplier as ‘the competent person.’ Similarly, it defines that the competent person must inform the responsible person of their legal obligations, especially in relation to training.

The standard makes an important recommendation regarding measures that should be taken to reduce the possibility of a stolen or vadalised extinguisher by using protective boxes, covers or the use of a stand with an audible alarm to signal when an extinguisher has been removed.

From a product perspective, the use of powder-based extinguishers should be risk assessed and they can no longer be used indoors due to sudden visibility loss when discharged, potentially preventing safe evacuation. Wet chemical extinguishers are now required in preference to a fire blanket in high-risk environments involving cooking oils, keeping the user away from immediate danger.

Other recommendations include the distances an individual should travel to reach an extinguisher. An extinguisher should be placed near the fire hazard but not too close that it becomes inaccessible or puts the operator at risk. In addition, if access to an extinguisher requires the user to pass through a door, the travel distance to the extinguisher needs to be reduced.


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