My name is Victoria Hartson. I am the Managing Director of Hartson Fire Ltd. We specialise in fire protection. I will be writing a weekly blog focusing on common issues I encounter together with how to reduce the risk of fires. I will also be keeping our customers up to speed on legal requirements in relation to protecting themselves, their staff and customers/visitors. It wasn’t difficult to choose a subject to discuss first. I wanted to share with you the answer to a few questions I am frequently asked.

Do I need fire extinguishers?

Yes - It has been a legal requirement since October 2006 for the owner/manager of virtually every kind of premises to ensure the safety of visitors by installing the right type of fire extinguishers ie workplaces, public buildings, and rented accommodation. Any fire extinguisher you have should have been commissioned by a professional extinguisher engineer.

Do my extinguishers need to be serviced?

Yes - The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes annual maintenance of fire extinguishers a legal requirement. If you were to purchase a new vehicle, despite not requiring an MOT for the first 3 years, it is still essential that the car is serviced annually. So think of it as the same when it comes to your fire extinguishers, which are essential items in the work place, integral to everyday life, where safety is of the utmost importance.

An extinguisher which is well maintained and serviced could potentially save lives. So although the extinguisher may have a warranty, you must still ensure you’re looking after the equipment as the responsible person. Furthermore, servicing will inform you of any issues with the extinguisher, and it is far better to have a warning, rather than waiting until it’s too late. As well as being a legal requirement, it will also give you peace of mind as a business owner. Your insurance company may also ask for a copy of your inspection certificate, as we often encounter situations where companies’ insurance has been voided due to insufficient equipment or checks.

Many factors can have an effect on the operation of an extinguisher. They may have been tampered with, accidentally damaged, and the environment around them can also have a negative impact. Even UV exposure can cause components within to deteriorate. Furthermore, the servicing engineer will also take into account whether or not the fire extinguishers are located appropriately.

According to a recent survey, it is estimated that fire extinguishers save the economy £500 million, prevent over 1600 injuries and save 24 lives every year. Over 2,000 incidents are reported each year and of those numbers 80% of fires were successfully dealt with using fire extinguishers with 75% of cases not requiring the fire brigade to attend.  

Fire extinguishers can save lives in the workplace or at home.