P50 Fire Extinguisher, are they for me?
A 10-year service free, cost-effective fire extinguisher – is it as good as it sounds?
‘The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, also known as the ‘RRO’ sets-out the Regulations behind fire-safety and fire-extinguishers, which includes all premises used for non-domestic purposes, with a few minor exceptions.
In 2012 a kitemark was issued to a new ‘breed’ of fire extinguishers by the British Standards Institute. This new fire extinguisher known as the P50 makes claims to a 10-year service-free life. This saves you costing on services and replacement, which would be necessary on previous fire extinguisher models.
Now let’s break it down, how much does it really save?
The initial cost of a P50 fire extinguisher is £151.66 on average, whereas, a standard extinguisher can be purchased for £24 (excluding installation costs). This may make you ask, at roughly 6.5 times the cost, how can this be cost-effective? A standard fire extinguisher requires a ‘basic service’ every 12 months and needs to be carried-out in accordance with BS 5036-6. This service is best done by a third-party accredited fire extinguisher technician and can cost anywhere from £8 - £15 per unit depending on volume. However, the P50 requires a simple visual inspection annually, which takes minutes and can be done by employees, once they are given simple training – already an obvious saving. The addition of a second magnetic indicator gauge is unique to the P50 and provides reassurance to gauge tester by allowing users to verify each gauge against the other.
The P50 is available as aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) and dry powder, depending on the appropriate model for your usage. They also come with a guarantee/warranty period of 10 years and require no refills or spares, unlike their counterpart. Issues previously with corrosion are an issue of the past, as these models are made using the same plastic chemical manufacturers use to hold chemicals for long-term storage. This also means where other extinguishers would rust, the P50 will stand its ground in a variety of environments.
Can you get rid of your CO2 extinguishers?
There have been murmurs that a CO2 extinguisher would need to be installed beside the P50, due to limitations. However, the P50 is effective on Class A materials fuelled by wood, paper and textiles as well as Class B fires fuelled by paints, solvents, oils and petrochemical products. It has also passed the EN3 test for use on live electrical equipment up to 1000v at a distance of 1m. The operational temperature range is from +5°C to +60°C.
The foam fire extinguisher has excellent firefighting capabilities making it effective on Class A materials fuelled by wood, paper and textiles as well as Class B fires fuelled by paints, solvents, oils and petrochemical products. The extinguisher has also passed the EN3 test for use on live electrical equipment up to 1000V at a distance of 1m. The operational temperature range is from +5°C to +60°C.
Here is a breakdown of the qualities of the P50 fire extinguisher:
Manufactured in Great Britain
10 year operational corrosion guarantee
10 year quality assurance on material defects and workmanship
20 year life cycle
No service contract required
Requires only one manufacturer overhaul at 10 years
A yearly visual maintenance inspection checking indicators with the magnet
A Schrader valve is fitted on marine units for ease of re-pressuring
Super strength Aramid (Kevlar®) type material yarn
Lightweight for ease of operation
Kitemark, PED, MED and EN3 approved
Manufacturer disposal of contents meets EU environmental guidance
UV protection of the outer casing
This summary will aim to guide you to the steps that should be taken before purchasing a P50 fire extinguisher, below is a table of approximate costs compared between the two options:
* Please note the maximum life span of the standard fire extinguisher is 12 years and would need replacing after such time, average cost over 20-year period includes the price of an additional 2 items.
Just because the price is right for you this doesn’t mean this will be the correct method of fire extinguisher for your business.
Before you decide which option is best, you should follow these steps:
Review your current fire risk assessment
Consult a Competent Person to establish which fire fighting media is best suited to your premises.
Compare total estimated cost in the table provided.
Review your business current fire policy.
Implement and provide suitable staff training on how to check the p50 extinguisher.
PS. We DO NOT sell, supply or manufacture P50 fire extinguishers but we can help you review your fire risk assessment ;)
Daniel Allcock - Fire Risk Assessor
Big Enough to Cope & Small Enough to Care...