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Winter-ready fire safety

During the winter months, it’s vital that extra consideration is given to maintain fire safety and protect lives. When fire extinguishers are exposed to extremely low temperatures, their contents can freeze, rendering them ineffective in the event of a fire. BS 5306 stipulates the importance of protecting all fire extinguishers in public access environments from accidental damage, tampering and adverse weather conditions.

With colder weather on the way, here we discuss the importance of protecting fire safety during the autumn and winter, and how you can help your customers comply with regulations and protect lives.

Why is winter fire safety important?

Fire safety is a constant process and should never be overlooked, regardless of the season. That’s why regular risk assessments are so important in order to monitor fire risks and any changes that might affect fire safety procedures. However, the winter months bring specific risks to fire safety that must be addressed.

Many settings, such as garage forecourts and holiday parks for example, may need to keep fire extinguishers outdoors to ensure fire safety. In addition, multi-occupancy residential properties or shared offices may keep a fire extinguisher near the fire exit or in stairwells where there is no heating. The risk during winter is that cold temperatures will freeze the contents of fire extinguishers, rendering them unusable in the event of a fire.

Fire extinguishers manufactured in accordance with the British Standards should include a temperature-range mark. If the fire extinguisher is exposed to temperatures outside of its range, discharge and fire rating cannot be guaranteed. As such, BS 5306-8 states:

“If extinguishers are sited in locations where temperatures approach the limits of this range, then either measures should be taken to protect the extinguisher from the extremes of temperature, or alternative extinguisher types should be specified that have a more appropriate temperature range for the hazard in that location.”

Below, we offer some innovative solutions from our market-leading brands to support during the autumn and winter months.

Shielding fire extinguishers

There a number of fire extinguisher storage options to protect units from low temperatures and adverse weather conditions.

From a reliable and industry-leading brand, the Single Commander Cabinet is composed of sturdy ABC plastic, protecting from accidental damage, poor weather and even UV rays, which can cause fire extinguisher labels to fade and become illegible.

While this solution is capable of housing one fire extinguisher up to 9ltr/9kg, the Double Commander Cabinet is able to store up to two units – ideal for settings at risk of multiple classes of fire that need to keep different types of fire extinguisher, or multiple fire extinguishers, outdoors.

Specialist fire extinguishers

With the risk of the contents of fire extinguishers freezing in low temperatures, your customers could benefit from keeping specialist fire extinguishers on site, which have a lower freezing point.

From the innovative Commander range, our 9ltr Water Fire Extinguisher pre-filled with low freeze additive boasts an impressive 21A fire rating and the ability to withstand temperatures as low as -10°C. In addition, Commander offers a five-year warranty on all models, for peace of mind that an incredibly reliable fire extinguisher has been installed.

As the weather gets colder and winter approaches, ensuring fire extinguisher protection is vital to complying with regulations and potentially saving lives. To learn more about the measures your customers need to take to maintain fire safety in the colder months, read our guide to preparing for winter fire safety, and sign up to our newsletter here.

The content of the CheckFire blog is for general information purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, under no circumstances should it be considered professional advice. Any reliance you place on the information is at your own risk. Always seek the advice of a fire professional for your particular circumstances and requirements.
  • by Amy Moseley

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