Fire Extinguishers suitable for use in offices


Published: December 15, 2021

Fire extinguishers.

In modern office environments, the usual fire risks are solid combustibles - such as furniture and waste paper bins. Electrical fires typically occur from computers, monitors, stereos, music equipment and kettles.

Having the right type of fire extinguisher in your office is essential. It is a good idea to have a fire blanket, not because a fire extinguisher can malfunction or there might be no-one available who knows how to use it, but because you can use it to protect yourself when trying to escape.

Let's look at your options, which are based by your specific office's risk. 

CO2 Fire Extinguisher (black label)

In modern offices the biggest fire risk is created by electrical equipment such as computers, printers, stereos and kettles. CO2 does not conduct electricity, and is a clean extinguisher agent which leaves no harmful residue behind. 

Suitable for flammable liquids such as petrol and oil, these materials are often found in offices in the form of furniture polish and cleaning materials which are stored in cupboards and drawers.

Electrical fires are extinguished with black CO2 fire extinguishers, and can be used on office fires caused by electrical heaters, computers and printers. 

Black fire extinguisher.

Foam Fire Extinguisher (cream label)

Most offices will have general fire risks from items like furniture, waste paper bins, shelving and office consumables and perhaps some flammable liquids. 

Suitable for flammable liquids such as petrol and oil, these materials are often found in offices in the form of furniture polish and cleaning materials which are left laying around.

Foam has very high ratings and is probably the best fire fighter in an office environment. Class A and B fires are typically extinguished with cream foam extinguishers.

Cream fire extinguisher.

Water Fire Extinguisher (red label)

Most offices will have general fire risks from items like desks, chairs and waste paper bins, but will also contain electrical equipment. The water mist effectively suffocates burning materials, cooling them and leaving very little residue behind. The water mist turns into steam and evaporates upon contact with the fire.

Although the water mist extinguishers cover most types of fire the fire ratings for each class of fire are lower than their traditional counterparts (water, foam, powder and CO2).

Class A Water Fire Extinguishers are suitable for solid combustible materials like wood and textiles. Often found in offices in the form of desks, chairs, carpets, curtains and notice boards.

Red fire extinguisher.

Keeping Your Offices Safe

Where should fire extinguishers be placed in an office?

One of the most important aspects of positioning fire extinguishers is making sure they are accessible and clearly visible. Make sure all of your employees know where the fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.

Fire extinguishers should be positioned at prominent fire points, usually sited on an exit route. Extinguishers should be clearly signed to indicate their location to staff. A weekly inspection of all fire points should be carried out to ensure that all extinguishers are in place, undamaged and readily accessible.

Some Fire Extinguisher FAQs

Should I use BAFE certified engineers and why?

BAFE certified engineers have had the correct training to become a service technician. All service engineers at ISE Fire have this certification; ensuring that the work carried out by the engineers will be of the highest quality and fully compliant with the relevant British Standards.

Can I use CO2 fire extinguishers on computers?

Yes, a CO2 fire extinguisher is ideal for use on computers and other electrical/electronic items as it leaves no residue. CO2 extinguishers are safe for use in computer rooms as long as the user doesn't expose themselves to CO2 for a prolonged use of time, as it could cause suffocation. 

Can I buy pre-serviced fire extinguishers?

No, the British Standard requires that extinguishers be commissioned and/or serviced on site. 

This is to ensure that the extinguisher is not damaged in transit after commissioning/servicing.

All businesses, regardless of size, must carry out a fire risk assessment and decide on fire detection, alerts and the equipment needed, although in a very small workplace, such as a shop or two person office, the fire warning system could be as simple as someone shouting “Fire!“

The Order does not specify minimum fire safety measures, but different industries may be covered by other legislation covering minimum provision.

Book your office fire risk assessment
Writing on assessment list.

Further resources about workplace fire safety, including how best you can protect your Northamptonshire business can be found here:

Our highly qualified and experienced fire extinguisher installation engineer team ensure fire and safety with fire protection services with addressable fire alarm systems, fire extinguisher servicing and fire safety equipment for your office premises.

If you're unsure of the fire extinguishers needed in your office, we are always happy to provide a free business survey of your office's premises to determine your fire extinguisher requirements. 

With offices in Wellingborough, CorbyBedford, Daventry, Huntingdon, Leicester and Milton Keynes, we've got your business covered. 

Nigel Bates talking fire safety.

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