Offices must legally be fitted with fire extinguishers, whether it be a multinational or a small home office. In the first instance, they follow the standard scheme and must provide 1 extinguishing unit per floor and per 150m². An extinguisher unit is a fire extinguisher of 6kg or 6ltr.
Powder or foam?
You have the choice between 6kg powder fire extinguishers and 6l foam fire extinguishers. We recommend that you always work with foam fire extinguishers for office buildings, because they cause much less collateral damage than powder fire extinguishers and because the powder is very difficult to clean after use. You need a special industrial vacuum cleaner for that.
Office buildings must not only have the basic security in order, but they may also have to provide certain so-called object protection. For fire-sensitive places, they have to provide an extra fire extinguisher. For example, with a communal kitchen and large electrical cabinets, you should always provide 1 CO2 fire extinguisher of 5 kg.
Also, remember that all fire extinguishers should be hung on the wall, and their location marked with an icon. It is also legally required to have fire extinguishers refilling and inspected annually. This is the only way to be fully in order, even with your fire insurance.
What should you definitely remember?
If you want to provide your office with fire extinguishers, make sure to remember the following:
- that you place 1 foam extinguisher of 6l per floor and per 150m²
- that you provide kitchens and electrical cabinets with a 5kg CO2 extinguisher
- that you have the fire extinguishers tested annually by a qualified technician.
Which fire extinguishers do I need?
To determine what type of fire extinguishers ( foam, ABF foam, powder, or CO2 ) you need, you divide your building into so-called projection zones.
These are zones:
- In which the same activity is carried out;
- In which mainly one fire class can be distinguished (read more about fire classes here );
- In which all individual spaces are connected. Rooms that are separated by a closed-door as standard are considered to be a separate projection zone. Each floor of a building is at least a separate projection zone.
For each projection zone you determine which type of fires could occur most often, the so-called fire classes:
- Class A: fires based on solids
- Class B: fires based on liquids
- Class C: fires based on gases
- Class F: fires based on fats
You then choose the type of fire extinguisher that best suits each project zone:
a). Foam fire extinguishers: for classes A and B
b). Powder fire extinguishers: for classes A, B, and C.
c). CO2 fire extinguishers: for class B and object protection (see further)
d). Foam grease fire extinguishers frost-free: for classes A, B, and F
The most commonly used extinguishers are foam and powder fire extinguishers. In practice, you will almost always be able to choose between foam or powder as an extinguishing agent, because gas fires are rarely a major risk for which you need to protect yourself specifically.