Portable Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers are manufactured to suit different types of fires and should be selected, sited, serviced and maintained in accordance with the relevant code of practice. Third party approval of the portable fire extinguisher will help to ensure that they will function correctly if properly maintained, it will also demonstrate due diligence in supporting risk assessed based legislation.


LPCB approval helps to ensure that fire extinguishers meet and continue to meet appropriate standards. LPCB approval includes testing of the individual component parts of the fire extinguisher, pressure safety of the vessel, correct labelling and operation instructions and the satisfactory performance of the extinguisher when tested to the relevant fire test. These elements are continuously monitored during regular factory production control (fpc) surveillance audits.

CE marking may be found on a portable fire extinguisher as required by the European Union - Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) but should not be confused with LPCB approval. This directive has been published for products that are to be sold within the European Union (EU) and it requires proof of safety of the pressure vessel. The CE mark placed on a fire extinguisher demonstrates conformance with this pressure safety requirement and fire testing is not carried out as part of this directive.

Caution: To be sure of reliable, proven, performance of the fire extinguisher in fire conditions, the extinguisher should carry independent proof of performance, such as the LPCB mark, and if it is to be supplied into the EU the additional CE mark will also be required as defined by the PED.

Generally the test standards used by the LPCB for certification of portable fire extinguishers are:

  • EN 3-7 Characteristics, performance requirements and test methods
  • EN 3-8 - Additional requirements to EN 3-7 for the construction, resistance to pressure and mechanical tests for extinguishers with a maximum allowable pressure equal to or lower than 30 bar
  • EN 3-9 - Additional requirements to EN 3-7 for pressure resistance of CO2 extinguishers
  • EN 3-10 - Provisions for evaluating the conformity of a portable fire extinguisher to EN 3-7
  • BS 7867 - Specification for portable fire extinguishers for use in aircraft
  • BS 6165 - Specification for small disposable fire extinguishers of the aerosol type

Abbreviations used for LPCB listing of portable fire extinguishers:-

W – Water

ABC or BC - Dry Powder

CA - Clean Agent

SP - Stored pressure actuation

WB - Water based (water plus additive)

CO2 - Carbon Dioxide

WC - Wet Chemical

GC - Gas cartridge actuation

A requirement of EN 3 is that each portable fire extinguisher must be clearly labelled to identify the classes of fire for which they have demonstrated satisfactory performance as defined in EN 3. In summary:

Class A - for use on flammable solid materials, e.g. wood, paper, coal, straw, cloth.
Class B - for use on fires involving flammable liquids or liquefiable solids.
Class C - for fires involving gases.
Class D - for fires involving metals, e.g. magnesium, sodium, cadmium, manganese.
Class F - for use on cooking oil fires.           


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