In the complex world of fire safety, staying updated with the latest regulations is paramount. As of 8th January 2024, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) has brought to light significant updates to the BS 5306-8 standard, marking a pivotal moment in fire extinguisher guidelines. Spearheading these changes is Robert Thilthorpe, FIA’s Technical Manager in Fire Safety, who sheds light on the crucial revisions aimed at enhancing safety and sustainability.
The revised British Standard, BS 5306-8: 2023, sets forth new criteria for the selection and installation of fire extinguishers. This overhaul reflects a concerted effort to align requirements with contemporary best practices, ensuring that fire safety measures evolve in tandem with emerging challenges and technological advancements.
One of the most noteworthy amendments lies in the expansion of clause 4, which delves into the intricacies of different extinguishing media and their firefighting properties. This comprehensive guidance serves to demystify the use of powder extinguishers indoors while offering a well-rounded approach to selecting extinguishing media. By empowering users with nuanced insights, the revised standard enables informed decision-making, thereby fortifying fire preparedness across diverse settings.
A hallmark feature of BS 5306-8: 2023 is its emphasis on collaboration between responsible persons and service providers. By fostering a symbiotic relationship, the standard ensures that specifications for fire extinguishers are not merely compliant but tailored to the unique exigencies of individual environments. This ethos underscores a proactive approach to fire safety, wherein stakeholders work in concert to mitigate risks and optimise protective measures.
The updated standard also issues a cautionary advisory regarding the use of water-based extinguishers on fires involving electrical equipment—a pivotal consideration in today’s techno-centric landscape. Moreover, new guidelines address the handling of fires involving batteries, with a particular focus on lithium-ion batteries prevalent in small mobile devices. Recognising the proliferation of such technologies, the standard endeavours to equip stakeholders with the requisite knowledge to navigate emergent fire hazards effectively.
As a group we’ve been raising concerns about the wide-spread coverage relating to lithium-ion batteries and the dangers they have across several sectors we look after, in particularly multiple-occupancy buildings such as Student Accommodation, PBSA and Social Housing.
Furthermore, BS 5306-8: 2023 revises the guidance pertaining to the number of A-rated extinguishers required in small premises. While areas under 50m² necessitate only one A-rated extinguisher, spaces exceeding 50m² mandate a minimum of two—a pragmatic adjustment tailored to spatial considerations and risk profiles.