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1. We get back in touch
A member of our team will quickly get back to you to discuss your enquiry in more detail.
2. Free site visit
If it will help decide on the best way to proceed with your enquiry, one of our team will make a free visit to your premises to assess your requirements.
3. Free quotation
We’ll send you a free quotation for the work, and because we always aim to beat other quotes, you can be sure it will be very competitive.
4. We carry out the work
We'll send an engineer to carry out the work as soon as we can. This will be very soon for maintenance and fire extinguishers, and a few weeks for full alarm systems.

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Can I Install My Own Fire Extinguishers?

Can I Install My Own Fire Extinguishers?

The simple answer to this question is that while you can install your own fire extinguishers, you really shouldn’t. At least, not unless you know exactly what you’re doing, because there’s a lot more to it than just putting them in the right place.

If you’re wondering why this should be, the team at Scutum South East is here to tell you all you need to know about fire extinguisher installation, what’s involved and why it needs to be done – as is the case with so much else in the field of fire safety – by a ‘competent person’.

So, having answered the main question in the article, let’s look at it another way.

Can i install my own fire extinguishers

Why shouldn’t I install my own fire extinguisher?

Before your new fire extinguisher can be put in its new home, there are a few checks that need to be made, and this can only happen after it has been delivered and unpacked.

This process is officially known as ‘commissioning’, and that alone should tell you that there’s probably going to be more to it than you might at first think.

The reasoning behind this should be relatively evident. Fire extinguishers are both delicate pieces of machinery and life-saving equipment, so missing out a single step or making even one small error could have fatal consequences further down the line.

Commissioning a fire extinguisher

So what needs to be done when commissioning a fire extinguisher? These are the main steps:

Ensure the extinguisher has not been activated or damaged in transit

Even the most careful delivery company can have the odd accident and they are unlikely to be aware of the possible consequences of even a small bump. This involves everything from checking the safety clip to looking for dents and scratches on the extinguisher’s exterior. 

Check the pressure gauge

For an extinguisher to be both safe and functional, it needs to be correctly charged and this is measured by the internal pressure. It needs to be within accepted limits – usually, this will be the green area on the gauge.

Test the safety pin

To do this, you need to carefully remove it and then check the movement of the handles or operating levers. This needs to be done gently, otherwise you run the risk of setting the extinguisher off.

Weighing the extinguisher

This determines that there is enough extinguishant inside. Once it’s been weighed, the result needs to be recorded on the maintenance label. The extinguisher needs to be recharged or replaced if the weight drops 10% or more.

Check instructions are clear and legible

There should be instructions on how to use the extinguisher attached to its exterior. Check that these are both present and legible.

Check that the seals for valves, hoses, horns and nozzles are in place

These are all essential to the safe functionality of the extinguisher, so a quick check to make sure that they’re all present and correct is essential.

Check the removable operating mechanism

Not all extinguishers have one of these, but if yours does, it needs to be removed, cleaned and lubricated.

Complete the maintenance label

Any servicing or maintenance work that is carried out on the extinguisher needs to be recorded so that the next person to look at it knows what was done and when.

Where should a fire extinguisher be located?

Standard extinguishers (i.e. water-based and CO2) should be placed at exit points and by fire alarm call points. However, BS 5306 states that you should never be more than 30 metres away from the nearest extinguisher on the same level, so further extinguishers should be located at the appropriate places to fulfil that requirement.

Other extinguishers – i.e. ones that have been acquired for specific fire risks – should be located within easy reach of the risks they are there to deal with.

Once you know how much needs doing to safely and legally install a new fire extinguisher, it makes sense that a competent person who can do it in an organised and methodical way – based on experience and training – takes control. According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a competent person is someone who has “sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures”.

Don’t take a chance when buying new fire extinguishers for your commercial premises. Scutum South East can safely, quickly and legally install fire extinguishers of all types to ensure the best protection in the event of a fire.

Get in touch with us now to find out more or to arrange for a visit from one of our experienced fire safety professionals.

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About Scutum South East

Scutum South East is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.

From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.

With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

If you’d like to find out more about Scutum South East, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.

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