Fire Extinguishers.


Ministers Specification SA 76 Schedule 3.5 (f).

Fire extinguishers must be installed to the degree necessary to allow occupants to safely undertake initial attack on a fire appropriate to:

a.  the size of the fire compartment

b. the function or use of the building;

c.  any further fire safety systems installed in the building; and

d. the fire hazard.

“Portable fire extinguishers must be provided as listed in Table E1.6 and must be selected, located and distributed in accordance with Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Australian Standard 2444.”  These fire extinguishers should cover at least the electrical hazard within the building.  (Ref BCA E1.6).

The travel distance from any point to the nearest extinguisher shall be not greater than 15 m.  They should also be mounted in the path of travel to an exit. 

Office electrical and electronic risks (AS 2444).

The maximum distance from an extinguisher’s normal location to the risk shall be either -

(a)           20 metres, in areas where there is a large density of electrical/electronic equipment (e.g. computer centres, broadcasting studios, telephone exchange equipment rooms and the like); or

(b)           40 metres, in areas where there is a lesser distribution of electrical/electronic equipment (e.g. offices using computers and photocopiers).

Appropriate location signs should be mounted above the extinguisher so that the position is visible from at least 20 metres.   (Ref AS 2444).


Fire extinguishers are to be maintained at 6 monthly peroids as prescribed in AS 1851.


Things to check on a Fire Extinguisher.

1.  The guage is in the uppermost position reading in the green band.  (Note the C02 Extinguisher hasnt got one)



2.  The tamper proof tag hasnt been broken.

3.  The yellow maintenance tag has been stamped (6 monthly).


Note if one of these 3 items are not in place then it is deemed that the extinguisher is unserviceable and should be checked by a suitably qualified person.








 Fire Extinguisher External Markings.  

There are many markings on fire extingushers that include but not restricted to

The Colored Identification Band (this indicates the type of extinguishing agent contained in the vestle).

Instructions for use.

Pictograph images.

Pictograph images.

Green for GO.  This extinguisher is good for Solid , Liquid and Electrical fires.




Red for STOP.  This

Extinguisher is not suitable for Liquid and Electrical fires.




Extract from AS 1851.  Any service label applied to the extinguisher .............shall not be applied on the coloured identification band, over any manufacturers  labels or instructions, or on the maintenace record tag or label.


Signs shall be mounted not less than 2.0m above floor level, or at a height that makes them most apparent to a person of average height and visual acuity approaching the extinguisher location.   Note if there is a possibility of dislodgement or damage the extinguishers can be positioned at a height greater than 1.2 m. (Ref AS 2444).




 (Not the best examples)



Before we use an extinguisher we need to know how to identify it by type and the classification of fire.

Classifications of fires are as follows -

Class A.    Solids. ie Wood Paper Fabrics etc.

Class B.     Liquids. ie Petrol, Kerro, Paints etc.

Class C.     Gas. ie LPG.

Class D.     Metals. ie Aluminum, Zinc.

Class (E).   Electrical.  TVs, Computers, Microwaves etc.

Class F.     Cooking Oils and Fats.

Extinguisher Identification - Fire Extinguishers have a body colour of red, the agent contained within them is identified by a colored band and also written on the manufactures label.

White band Dry Chemical Powder (DCP).  Method of extinguishment, chemical inhibition.

Use on A,B & E Class.  Can also be used on C & F Class.




No coloured band Water Method of extinguishment, cooling.  Use on A Class.



Black Band.  Carbon Dioxide CO2 Method of extinguishment Smothering.

Use on B,E Class





Blue Foam.  Method of extinguishment, smothering.  Good for liquids, Fuels, Oils etc. Use on Class B and can also be used on A class solids.






Oatmeal wet Chemical.  method of extinction smothering used on A & F class Class A solids and Class F cooking oils.

Extinguisher Chart.pdf