Always consult with a Fire Certifier with a Fire Extinguisher Licence.
AS 2444 – 2001 Portable fire extinguisher and fire blankets
AS2444 Portable Fire Extinguishers covers all types of portable extinguishers found in a business premises.
The main purpose of this standard is to cover the type of extinguisher required for the type of fire and the location of the Portable Fire equipment (Fire Extinguishers and Fire Blankets).
Portable fire extinguishers should not have a gross mass of greater than 23kg. These extinguishers are normally called first-attack firefighting appliances and are designed to be hand operated.
Australian Businesses Common Fire Extinguishers
The most common fire extinguishers found in a standard business in Australia are ABE, Water, Co2 and Foam Fire Extinguishers.
To identify the type of fire extinguisher, a person can check the colour band around the fire extinguisher or the labelling on the fire extinguisher itself. Another indicator is what’s known as an Identification Sign (ID Sign), which informs the user of the type of extinguisher that’s being used.
AS2444-2001 is broken into Six Sections
- Section 1 – Scope and General
- Section 2 – Selection of Portable Fire Extinguishers
- Section 3 – Location of Portable Fire Extinguisher
- Section 4 – Distribution of Portable Fire Extinguishers in Buildings
- Section 5 – Selection and Distribution of Portable Fire Extinguishers in Vehicles and Small Craft
- Section 6 – Selection and Location of Fire Blankets Appendices
Common Definitions used by Fire Technicians
Aerosol Fire Extinguisher– A non-rechargeable fire extinguisher in which the expellant gas is stored under pressure in an aerosol container.
Emergency Services Switch Board– A switchboard which sustains emergency equipment operating in the emergency mode.
Fire Blanket– A flexible sheet of material intended to be used to extinguish the fires by smothering.
- Class A- fires involving carbonaceous solids
- Class B- fire involving flammable liquids
- Class C- fire involving flammable gases
- Class D- fires involving combustible metals
- Class E- fires involving energized electrical equipment
- Class F- fires involving cooking oil and fats
Fire Point– A grouping of fire extinguishers not necessarily the same type, for ease of location.
Human Torch– A fire in the clothing being worn by a person.
Portable Fire Extinguisher- A first attack firefighting appliance.
Section 1 - Scope and General
Covering general information and definitions for licenced Fire Technicians. The importance of being qualified and the importance of being Certified if completing design works.
Section 2 - Selection of Portable Fire Extinguishers
Parts of the legislation for all states in Australia place the importance on trained staff for First-Response activities using Fire Extinguishers. The wrong extinguisher used on a fire can cause the fire risk to increase and not decrease.
FCF Fire & Electrical offer fire extinguisher training online and free during the Coivd-19 Pandemic.
Classification and rating to comply with Australian Fire Extinguisher Standards are determined by AS1850. Not all fire extinguishers are the same, cheap knock off home fire extinguishers can present as commercial fire extinguishers. FCF Fire & Electrical recommend to only purchase fire extinguishers from a Fire Protection Company that holds a Fire Extinguishers Certifiers Licence. Too many times customers have tried to save a dollar only to have the Fire Authority or a Fire Certifier reject the replacements and the client pays twice.
Section 3 - Location of Portable Fire Extinguisher
Fire Extinguishers shall be located in readily accessible positions, normally in a position along an exit pathway and in such a position that the user isn’t placed a risk of a hazard.
Fire extinguisher heights
Maximum to the top of the fire extinguisher is 1200mm and minimum amount off the ground is 100mm.
Signs for fire extinguishers
Extinguishers shall have their locations clearly indicated by placement of an identification sign, located at 2000mm above floor level and directly above the fire extinguisher.
Section 4 - Distribution of Portable Fire Extinguishers in Buildings
The classification and rating of each extinguisher shall at minimum meet the level of risk that the area is covering.
A number of extinguishers of lower rating shall not be used to attain the required protection.
In other words do not buy fire extinguishers unless the provider is a licenced fire extinguisher company. A fatality on your business premise means that you are 100% liable due to the wording used SHALL. Only use fire certified companies to remove the risk associated with purchasing cheaper units form hardware stores, local safety shops and online stores. The risk cannot be assessed if purchasing off site. Only an onsite provider can complete the legislated requirements in a commercial space.
Table 4.1 in AS2444-2001 covers the fire hazard, minimum classification and maximum floor area.
A fire certifier will assess the fire hazard and the correct fire extinguishers to cover that particular risk.
Table 4.2-4.3 Cover the Minimum rating, classification and distribution of extinguishers for class B Fire risks.
There is no general rule to distances with fire extinguisher distances as each building is different. The fire risk differs in each business and even the same type of business will require its own unique, fire extinguisher layout.
Always consult a fire extinguisher certifier, for professional advice or signing of government documents.
Section 5 - Selection and Distribution of Portable Fire Extinguishers in Vehicles and Small Craft
Note remote area vehicles or small crafts should have above standard requirements with a fixed hose on the extinguisher, to gain access to hard to reach fire hazards.
Selection of the correct extinguisher will not only be for the vehicle or small craft but also the cargo on-board. The fire risk can change significantly if extra types of fuel are on-board that could potentially aid the fire risk.
Refer to the manufacturer of the vehicle or small craft’s requirements.
Refer to a fire extinguisher certifier for additional loads and/or modifications to a vehicle or small craft.
Section 6 - Selection and Location of Fire Blankets
Fire Blankets generally cover small fires in Class A and B, plus fires involving cooking oils and fats.
Also used to smother a person with clothing that is on fire or otherwise known as a human torch. These blankets are naturally of a larger area.
Another use for fire blankets can be as a thermal barrier against radiant heat, in a fire situation.
Location must be in an easily accessible place near the fire risk. Free from obstruction when removing the fire blanket from its protective cover.
Normally placed on an exit pathway to ensure that the trained user has the option to fight or flight the fire.
A location sign must be used in commercial applications to help identify the fire blanket location quickly. 6.4.3 Requires the mounting height at 2.0m above the floor area and visually acuity when approaching the fire blanket.