17 May Chubb survey reveals 93% fires extinguished by portable fire extinguishers
New data from Chubb Fire and Security has identified the importance of portable fire extinguishers, which are used to douse and stop 93% of fires.
The 2021 survey, titled the Fire Extinguisher Use Survey, has brought together technicians from companies in the four main trade associations in the UK – British Fire Consortium (BFC), Fire Industry Association (FIA), Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association (IFEDA), and UK Fire Association (UKFA). The survey uncovered that the number of fires being successfully extinguished by portable fire extinguishers has increased from 80% in 2003 to 93% in 2021.
Whilst fire extinguishers are clearly important, they are not always recognised as so. In 2019, a news article highlighted that a Housing Association responsible for managing more than 7000 premises in the North of England had removed fire extinguishers from communal areas in their properties.
Residents in these properties were told that ‘it is not considered necessary to provide firefighting equipment in the buildings and such equipment should only be used by people who have been trained.’ This was a direct contradiction of existing legislation, as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 recommends that all premises are provided with appropriate firefighting equipment.
It states: ‘Where necessary to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that the premises are equipped with appropriate firefighting equipment and firefighting equipment is simple to use and indicated by signs. The responsible person must take measures for firefighting in the premises and nominate competent persons to implement those measures and ensure that the number of such persons, their training, and the equipment available to them is adequate.’
The survey also discovered the percentage of fires that the Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) in the UK is called to has increased to 27%.
Another significant finding from the new survey was that the contents inside extinguishers have become more efficient since 2003, while the way residents use them has become more uniform and intuitive. In the 2021 survey just 52% of users had received training in the use of fire extinguishers yet the correct extinguisher was used 93% of the time.
While the use of a portable fire extinguisher is reasonably intuitive as they are easily identifiable and operable, training is essential to help employees choose the best and safest type to tackle each incident.