One of the main potential fire risks in today's modern office environment is electrical equipment with many workstations containing computers, screens and other similar technology. Using liquid or powder on electrical equipment such as computers can damage them. Though we tend to use less paper these days, this material along with wood and other textiles should also be cause for concern in terms of potential causes of an office-based fire.
Business owners or facility companies who manage office premises, should start by employing a company like Hartson Fire in Swansea to carry out a fire risk assessment. This assessment will determine the type and number of fire extinguishers are required.
For a better understanding of the types of fire extinguishers which may be required in offices and how many need you need, here are some basic guidelines.
Fire extinguishers for use on Class A fires, flammable solids such as paper, wood, textiles, are rated on their ability to extinguish test fires. The test rating is displayed on the extinguisher label.
British Standard 5306 has a formula for calculating the number of class A extinguishers. As a general rule one 13A extinguisher covers 200 square meters.
There should be a minimum of two extinguishers per floor with a combined rating of at least 26A unless the upper floor area is very small, below 100m2, and in single occupancy, in which case, only a minimum rating of 13A is required on the upper floor.
With many of today's office environments containing computers, printers, monitors etc, it is important to have the necessary fire fighting equipment to hand. A CO2 fire extinguisher has the capability of putting out fires fuelled by electrical equipment by depriving the fire of oxygen. With CO2 fire extinguishers working on the principle of suffocating fires, the same danger can apply to humans so it is unadvisable to use a CO2 fire extinguisher in confined areas where the flow of air may be limited.
Furniture, waste paper bins, filing cabinets and many other objects in office spaces can be the potential fuel for a fire as well as some flammable liquids. Foam extinguishers can leave a residue so use on furniture should be as little as possible and as much as necessary to extinguish the fire. Any foam fire extinguisher that has passed the electrical conductivity tests for British Standards, so if they are sprayed on live electrical equipment up to 30,000 Volts then the user will not be electrocuted.
Water mist fire extinguishers provide fire fighting for class A, B, C, F and electrical risks. In an office environment the water mist fire extinguishers provide users with a multi-purpose unit which leaves very little residue behind meaning no clean up and no long term damage. Water mist units have been certified on multitude of fire risks and are therefore ideally located in areas with untrained users where one fire extinguisher can tackle all hazards.
Fire extinguishers need to work straight away when needed, so it is vital they are regularly checked and serviced. These are pressurised vessels that can burst when corroded or damaged and have been known to cause serious injury and even death.
The Regulatory Fire Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 states that fire fighting equipment “must be subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
In addition to giving advice and guidance on the types and number of fire extinguishers are required in an office space, Hartson Fire offers a servicing and maintenance service.
Through state-of-the art software, they also have in place alerts which advise when customers’ equipment is due to be serviced or replaced.
To find out more about Hartson Fire’s equipment and services call today on the number below or look us up online https://hartsonfire.co.uk/