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Removing Fire Extinguisher

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I work for a company and we own a complex of flats. In our last annual Fire risk assessment, we have been told we have to remove the class A fire Extinguisher from the stair well because of lack of training to residents. However they are only there to aid in escape, not to fight a fire. Is there any signage we can put up to negate the FRA or something?

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They are not there to aid in escape, and as they are fire extinguishers their very purpose is to fight a fire! The clue is in the name....

From the Government Guidance:

It is not normally considered necessary to provide fire extinguishers or hose reels in the common parts of blocks of flats. Such equipment should only be used by those trained in its use. It is not considered appropriate or practicable for residents in a block of flats to receive such training. In addition, if a fire occurs in a flat, the provision of fire extinguishing appliances in the common parts might encourage the occupants of the flat to enter the common parts to obtain an appliance and return to their flat to fight the fire. Such a procedure is inappropriate

The common parts are your escape route and as such are constructed such that they will be safe from fire for considerable time and should not have a fire starting in them (unless someone has broken the law and introduced fire risks into this area). A typical water or foam extinguisher is unsuitable for most fire risks in flats, which are usually of cooking or electrical nature.

Communal circulation areas are (or should be) fire sterile forming part of the protected escape route for the building and should only include basic carpeting and wall coverings that would not be involved in a fire, if at all, until well after conditions in the area would be fatal to human life.

You would be best placed in removing them and making a saving in the residents service charge budget that can be better spent on other things.

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  • 6 months later...

I'm unclear about when fire extinguishers are needed or not needed in blocks of flats.

The general guidance states that they should not be provided, but is that only for purpose built blocks? But on the other hand, HMOs seem to be required to provide them. What about converted houses; where do they stand?



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The HMO/converted houses guidance is somewhat older than the purpose built flats guide and is currently under revision. Many local authorities have amended their guidance to only require a fire blanket in the kitchen and in existing premises to remove extinguishers or train residents in their use.

Extinguisher suppliers will always baffle you with legalese to provide them, but the trend now is to not provide in these locations and enforcement bodies support it. There is nothing stopping individual householders making their own provision.

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