Chrome and Stainless Steel
Are chrome fire extinguishers different to red fire extinguishers?
Chrome fire extinguishers are incredibly popular, particularly in environments where style and aesthetics are important. However, they are also a constant cause of confusion, as many people are unaware of the laws and standards surrounding fire extinguishers and whether chrome extinguishers conform to them.
This simple guide aims to clear that confusion, filling you in on everything you need to know about chrome fire extinguishers, including their various functions, most popular uses, and relevant associated British Standards.
Over the years, you may have become familiar with the standard-issue red fire extinguisher, but recently an increasing number of workplaces and organisations have started to opt for chrome fire extinguishers instead. So, what are the differences between the two types of fire extinguishers and why have they become so popular?
what are chrome fire extinguishers?
Chrome fire extinguishers, if being completely accurate, are actually manufactured from stainless steel or aluminium. However, once polished and finished, they feature an eye-catching chrome effect – hence their name. It is generally recommended that the aluminium types are chosen due to its ability to withstand high gas pressures, but remains lightweight and easy to handle.
Made using the same components as their red counterparts, chrome extinguishers function in exactly the same way as any other fire extinguisher and are just as effective when tackling a fire. Like red extinguishers, the chrome extinguishers come in a range of sizes and all types of extinguishers are available, including water, foam, dry powder, CO2 and wet chemical.
where are they used?
Chrome extinguishers are most commonly found in locations where visual appeal is a high concern. This means they are particularly popular in environments such as hotels, reception areas, restaurants, modern offices, and show homes.
In addition, because they are manufactured from stainless steel or aluminium, chrome fire extinguishers are less prone to corrosion and are therefore suitable to be held in outside areas or in places with substantial amounts of moisture i.e. swimming pool, spas and marine environments.
Unfortunately, their design does have some drawbacks. Chrome fire extinguishers are more difficult to see than their red counterparts, so it’s recommended that proper signage is used to help draw attention to their location.
are they legal and do they comply with british standards?
In short, yes. Despite the confusion surrounding them, chrome fire extinguishers are actually completely legal, however, the confusion surrounding them comes from the fact that they do not conform to British Standards, particularly BS EN3-7:2004+A1:2007 states that, in order for a fire extinguisher to be BS EN3 approved, 95% of the body of the fire extinguisher must be red. The standard is only a recommendation, rather than a law, and chrome extinguishers carry other approvals, so fire safety regulations would not be broken if you install them.
Instead, the governing fire extinguisher legislation is the CE Mark. From May 2002, all fire extinguishers which operate under pressure must be manufactured in accordance with the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) and those which are will feature a CE Mark. Chrome fire extinguishers all carry a CE Mark, ensuring full legal compliance.
In addition, all chrome extinguishers made in the UK are manufactured under ISO 9001:2015 Quality Supervision and tested in accordance with BS EN3 rules (even though they don’t actually comply with each one).
Therefore, when installing chrome fire extinguishers in your environment, you can rest assured that you are fulfilling your fire safety obligations and conforming to all fire laws and regulations.
Please note that this article provides basic easy-to-understand guidance of fire safety provisions and the key fire safety information required to comply with legislation. Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. We aim to assist you to understand the fire-related terms within your Fire Risk Assessment. It does not provide detailed technical guidance on all fire safety provisions, and you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.
Fire Risk Consultancy Services have the knowledge and experience to assist your business to comply with all legal requirements surrounding Fire Safety including the legislation regarding Fire Alarms. Be sure to read our accompanying guides: Guide to Classes of Fire in the UK from A to F, Types of Fire Extinguisher, How Many Fire Extinguishers Do I Need?, Siting of Fire Extinguishers, P50 Fire Extinguishers, Maintaining & Servicing Your Fire Extinguishers AND Fire Alarm System Types, Emergency Lighting, Fire Door Regulations, Fire Safety Signs, also published on this site.
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