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Storage Container


Guest Nick the Wig
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Guest Nick the Wig

I am a member of an archery sports club. We hire a field from a local authority and have permission to have a container on the field in which we store our items (mainly wooden frames and dense straw bosses, plus a few things like aluminium signs and ropes.). 

The only time we enter the container is at the start and end of archery and the container is locked by five separate locks at all other times. (The container is therefore open for about 10 minutes at each end of shooting. Many years ago, we had fire extinguishers because a member was a supplier of these and provided them free. Since that date, there is now no smoking on the field (Local authority bye-law), and our Fire Risk assessment took the view that there was no material risk of fire and it was concluded that we no longer needed fire extinguishers.  Our risk assessment says that there is no material risk of fire (assessed at a 1 in 200 year event). 
 

Someone at the club noticed the old fire extinguishers which we have not got round to getting rid of and said that if we have the extinguishers present they must be serviced annually. They were inspected by a club member who saw a sticker on them that they were last serviced in 2016 (but in fact being an engineer, he has been inspecting them and checking them annually and maintains that they would still work. (As we're not employing anyone etc, and our risk assessment say no material risk of fire (and any fire would be contained in the container), then our club secretary thinks we should keep fire extinguishers just in case - the engineer says that he's checked for corrosion, pressure is fine, hoses etc are clear and unperished and that he's competent to determine if they're still usable and  doesn't know if we can put on new date stickers - or even whetehr we need to as its a container and not "premises")

Does anyone have know what the law actually requires?

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Even a tent is 'premises' for the purposes of the Fire Safety Order so the fact it's just a container is no exemption.

The legislation only requires portable fire extinguishers 'where necessary' and then only for life safety. Based on your information there are no ignition risks, and combustibles that would usually only feed an established fire rather than be readily ignitable in their own right. In fact your main fire risk is probably from arson using accelerants when no one would be there to do anything in the small window an extinguisher gives in any case.

It sounds like your 'engineer' has been doing visual inspections rather than a full Basic Service and from the last dates they were properly serviced should have identified they will be overdue the 5 year Extended Service (unless any are CO2 where they have a 10 year life before overhaul) and realistically are due replacement (few servicing companies have the means any more to carry out Extended Services where extinguishers have to be discharged and emptied, stripped down, internally inspected and recharged).

If you want an extinguisher for property protection then the best options are ones you don't need a qualified and insured external service company for such as:

https://www.safelincs.co.uk/car-fire-extinguisher-fireblitz/
https://www.safelincs.co.uk/britannia-2kg-powder/

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