Portable fire extinguishers are a safety provision that can be undervalued at times, but would be one of the first things you would look for if a small, manageable fire broke out in your building.
It is a legal requirement for all non-domestic/commercial properties to (where appropriate) equip the building with appropriate fire-fighting equipment (e.g. portable fire extingusihers). It is also part of these requirements to ensure they are maintained appropriately, ready to use in the event of a fire.
As the person or team appointed responsible for fire safety in your building (Responsible Person/Duty Holder), it is important to demonstrate you have acted with due dilligence to source a quality provider for these works. BAFE strongly recommends using an appropriately Third Party Certificated provider.
BAFE operate a Scheme called BAFE SP101 which is used to assess the competency of Portable Fire Extinguisher Organizations and their employed Fire Extinguisher Technicians.
The BAFE SP101 Competency of Portable Fire Extinguisher Organizations and Technicians Scheme exists to provide quality evidence that companies are competent (and operate an effective management system) to cover all aspects of this service and the fire extinguisher technicians they employ are competent to deliver appropriate services including:
Companies must ensure that their employed fire extinguisher technicians are appropriately trained and possess the skills to complete this work. This comprises of two parts:
“a) Written/practical BAFE recognised [BS 5306] examination including 3 yearly refresher training
b) On-the-job assessment.”
- BAFE SP101 Competency of Portable Fire Extinguisher Organizations and Technicians Scheme Document (12.2 New Applicant Technicians Training)
As noted above, the fire extinguisher technician must undergo an on-site assessment by an independent field assessor (appointed by BAFE). The “technician shall be required to demonstrate full competence to BS5306 Parts 3, 8 & 9. In the event of technician being unable to physically demonstrate to the BAFE Approved Assessor on the day any key requirement of the relevant Standards additional methods of demonstration of competence, including questioning, shall be applied.” - BAFE SP101 Competency of Portable Fire Extinguisher Organizations and Technicians Scheme Document (13.2 Technician Assessment)
Fire extinguisher technicians must also provide evidence of both asbestos awareness and health and safety training to ensure they work to the safest and highest standards within the industry. It is also a requirement of the Scheme that all valid BAFE SP101 Registered Fire Extinguisher Technicians continue to undertake refresher training and have on-site assessments by independent field assessors (appointed by BAFE) to demonstrate ongoing competence.
BS 5306 is the British Standard for Fire extinguishing installations and equipment on premises.
The BAFE SP101 Scheme observes the following parts:
This covers the multiple skills required to competently provide fire extinguisher services you may require to help fulfil your fire safety obligations. It is not the public’s responsibility to know these details, but to be confident that their chosen provider does.
However, BS 5306-3 does note “It is the duty of the responsible person to ensure that extinguishers are maintained regularly by a competent person. Portable fire extinguishers are regarded as “life safety equipment” and a planned system of maintenance is intended to ensure that the equipment is:
- BS 5306-3:2017 Fire extinguishing installations and equipment on premises - Part 3: Commissioning and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers – Code of practice (6. Maintenance intervals)
BAFE Registered Fire Extinguisher Technicians under the BAFE SP101 Scheme can be verified by contacting the BAFE Office with their ID Card Number/s.
In the instance where your chosen BAFE SP101 Registered Fire Extinguisher service provider sub-contracts this work out, they are only permitted to sub-contract this out to another Third Party Certificated/BAFE SP101 Registered Company. You can use the BAFE Fire Safety Register to verify this prior to any work commencing on-site.