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Extinguisher for spraying workshop

Guest Tamzin

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Guest Tamzin

Good afternoon
I would like some advice on the best extinguishers to have in my place of work. We have a warehouse which is like a garage where we work on lorries and respray them. We do use cleaning thinners etc.
What type of extiguishers do we need in the workshop? Would powder ones be right? Someone told me we couldnt have powder because it is an enclosed space (its a great big square barn!) so said i needed foam and co2, but having been online i see powder pretty much does everything we need, i.e. electrical or chemical?
Thank you in advance.

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Hi Tamzin 

You probably could get away with powder, although my biggest worry would be the impact on your operation if it was ever set off (accidentally for example). I assume that the powder would cause you major issues with your clean up and the next few painting jobs.

I would go for foam or de-ionised water mist. The latter, while not as powerful as some foams, is the one with the broadest application (burning gas, liquid, electrics) and leaves no deposit whatsoever. https://www.safelincs.co.uk/ultrafire-water-mist-fire-extinguishers/

I cannot see the use of CO2 in your specific case.

Kind Regards


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Powder would still be appropriate in your premises and still fully within the guidance in BS5306-8 on it's use. It is the best extinguisher for running fires and has a rapid knockdown. You do need to be aware of the damage potential though.

Certain solvents are known as polar solvents and destroy the foam blanket of standard foam extinguishers so you would need to consult the Material Safety Data Sheets for the materials you use as this may rule out the use of foam (Polar solvent resistant foam extinguishers are available but very expensive)

The Class B rating on water mist is so poor that the extinguishers cannot be officially marked as suitable for these fires and wouldn't suit your risks. If you don't have polar solvents then there is a Foam Mist extinguisher (https://www.firedepot.co.uk/firechief-multimist-6l-foam-mist-extinguisher).

If you did use normal foam spray (not mist) then as it stands in the UK you would need CO2 for any electrical risks (most foams aren't marked for electrical fires here)- it's also good for minor spot fires if you do welding as it's non damaging.

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