Are Fire Extinguishers A Legal Requirement?

July 5, 2021

Fire extinguishers may not be the most glamorous part of an office or workplace, but ignoring requirements around fire safety could become a serious issue. Not only is it dangerous if an emergency situation were to arise, but you can also receive fines for not following fire safety codes. 

So this begs the question, are fire extinguishers a legal requirement?

There are many legal requirements when it comes to fire safety. Not only are fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment required to be in place and inspected regularly, but it’s also important that workplace staff are trained in fire and other emergency procedures. 


Are fire extinguishers a legal requirement in Australia?

The short answer is, yes. 

Fire extinguishers are essential for every commercial building. Buildings must have at least one working fire extinguisher. Many buildings though will need more than one extinguisher and more than one type or class of extinguisher to be compliant with the law.

The requirements about the amounts and types of fire extinguishers required can change depending on building codes and the environment they will be used in. There are many different classes of buildings and structures, as well as classifications of fires, which will dictate the requirements for fire safety equipment.  

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website has a lot of great information for building fire safety. 

The specifics around what type of extinguisher you need and where it should be placed can be confusing if you’re not well versed in fire safety codes. That’s why it’s important to get advice and help from licensed fire safety professionals. That way you ensure that you’re following the appropriate guidelines and you won’t have to worry about remembering all the specifics yourself. 


Fire extinguisher requirements

Not only do you need to ensure the proper fire extinguishers are installed in your office or building, but there are ongoing maintenance requirements that go along with them. And it may not just be fire extinguishers, there are requirements in place for all fire safety equipment, like smoke alarms, fire blankets, fire exits, and sprinkler systems. If you are a building owner or occupier, you will need to know if your building has prescribed fire safety installations and your obligations to maintain them.

Some requirements include:

  • Fire extinguishers, Fire Blankets & Fire Hose Reels are required to be serviced every six (6) months as per Australian Standard 1851-2012.
  • Pressure testing is also required at 5 year periods on all types of extinguishers.
  • The occupier must ensure maintenance of prescribed fire extinguishers are carried out in accordance with MP 6.1 and by an appropriately qualified person.
  • Prescribed fire extinguishers are those required to be installed in the building.
  • The maintenance tag and either an invoice or summary report are acceptable as a record of maintenance.
  • You must ensure staff know what to do in the event of a fire or other emergency and know how to operate a fire extinguisher and other fire safety equipment. You must also provide evacuation training for staff so they know emergency procedures like evacuations protocol and assembly points.
  • As a general guide, the placement of fire extinguishers is one extinguisher every 15 metres if practical for Class A fires and every 20 metres for Class E and F fires.
  • It is also the building occupier’s responsibility to appoint and train a Fire Safety Adviser for buildings that are classified as high occupancy. This may be a workplace where 30 or more workers are normally employed, or a premises at risk of overcrowding. 


Our Fire Safety Services

We specialise in supplying, installing and servicing a wide range of fire extinguishers, fire hydrants and hose reels for commercial businesses.

Because different classes of fire require different types of extinguishers, as do different locations and building types, we can help you choose the right fire extinguisher for your needs and to meet fire safety regulations. 

On top of this, as licenced professionals we can provide evacuation and fire equipment training for your staff.

It’s important not to get too complacent and forget that service and maintenance is required by law to make sure fire equipment stays in working order. Instead of having to schedule and remember this yourself, a specialist service that provides regular fire extinguisher testing is the safest and easiest way to manage maintenance. 

Our experienced technicians provide maintenance and tests in accordance with the QLD development code MP6.1, Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 and all relevant Australian Standards. You won’t have to worry about anything to do with testing and maintenance, we manage it all for you from start to finish. 

We hope this article has helped answer your question “are fire extinguishers a legal requirement?”. If you have any questions about fire extinguishers or the requirements surrounding these for your workplace or commercial space in Brisbane, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team of experts


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