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Portable fire extinguisher information for business

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With proper use a portable fire extinguisher will be able to reduce or eliminate the degree of injury, damage and cost to business in the event of a small fire.

  • If you are considering making changes to your building’s scheduled fire safety measures, enforceable by law, you must seek council approval before making such changes. Contact your local council’s Fire Safety Officer for further information.
  • If portable fire extinguishers are installed in your building you are by law required to have them inspected and serviced every 6 months by a properly qualified person.
  • Each extinguisher shall be located in conspicuous, readily accessible locations and have a surrounding clearance of a minimum of 1000mm.
  • Extinguishers must be thermally protected IF installed in locations where the temperature is outside the range of 5C to 50C.
  • Each extinguisher shall be supported by an appropriate support fitting or bracket, or placed in a cabinet or enclosure with the front of the extinguisher facing outwards.
  • Distribution of extinguishers in buildings shall be in accordance with the hazard present in the area to be protected rather than size of the area. (See table on page 2 of this fact sheet.)

Mounting heights for portable fire extinguishers and extinguisher location signs

Extinguisher mounting heights

Max - 1200mm from floor to top of extinguisher handle
Min - 100mm from floor to bottom of extinguisher

Location sign mounting heights

Min - 2000mm above floor level
At a point that makes them most apparent to a person of average height & visual acuity

  • The extinguisher or extinguisher sign shall be clearly visible for up to 20 metres on approach.
  • The size of the sign shall be determined by:
    • The location at which the sign shall be legible
    • The distance at which the sign shall be legible
  • A minimum of one sign must be provided above or adjacent to an extinguisher even if indicating the location of multiple or a mixed group of extinguishers.
  • The extinguisher and fire point location signs shall have a symbol, border and letters in white on a red field, complying with Australian Standard (AS) 2700.
  • The Australian Standard (AS) 2444 Portable Fire Extinguishers and Fire Blankets selection and location will provide comprehensive and specific information.


Ensure everyone in the office understands evacuation plans and know the location of all portable fire extinguishers and how to use them.

For more information and professional fire safety training for your staff, contact Fire & Rescue NSW commercial training business unit, ComSafe, on 1800 SURVIVE (787 848).

The Fire & Rescue NSW commercial training business unit, ComSafe, can provide your business with a colour coded extinguisher chart.  For more information contact ComSafe on 1800 SURVIVE (787 848) or to view an example of the chart go to this web site

Class of Fire

Example of Fire

Extinguishing medium to be considered


Clothing fire

  • Pyjamas, shirt, pants
  • Water
  • Fire Blanket


Small carbonaceous fire

  • Waste paper bin
  • Water
  • Foam
  • ABE powder
  • Wet chemical
  • Vaporising liquid
  • Carbon dioxide (limited)


Large carbonaceous fire

  • Pallet of cardboard
  • Water
  • Foam
  • ABE powder


Petroleum based liquids

  • Petrol
  • oil
  • grease
  • turps
  • BE and ABE powder
  • Foam
  • Vaporising liquid (limited)
  • Carbon dioxide


Polar Solvents

  • Cleaning spirits
  • Alcohols
  • BE and ABE powder
  • Alcohol resisting foam
  • Vaporising liquid (limited)
  • Carbon dioxide (limited)


Gas fires

  • BBQ gas
  • LPG
  • Natural Gas
  • Acetylene
  • BE and ABE powder
  • NOTE- Gas fires are not to be extinguished unless the gas supply has been shut down first!


Metal Fires

  • Metal shavings
  • Special powder


Fires involving energised electrical equipment

  • Fuse box
  • Computer equipment
  • BE and ABE powder
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Vaporising liquid


Cooking oils and fats

  • Dripping
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Wet chemical
  • BE powder
  • Fire Blanket
  • Foam (limited)
  • Carbon dioxide (limited)


Printable factsheet

 Portable fire extinguisher information for business (PDF, 109Kb)