Fire extinguisher bought at car boot sale is false economy
When it comes to Fire Extinguishers I like to think I am pretty clued up on Standards and legislation and at Fire and Safety Centre we have invested a great deal of time in trying to educate our customers regarding compliance issues particularly post the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 the RRO. Clearly getting the message across to some businesses on how to select the right Fire Extinguishers has some way to go if my casual observation last Sunday is any measure.

Since the demise of our local village shop I am obliged to visit the next village to collect my Sunday newspaper. In so doing I pass the regular Sunday morning car boot sale in the same village. As I drove through I noticed a chap leaving the car boot lugging a red fire extinguisher. I only caught a passing glance but thought it unusual to find fire extinguishers for sale on a car boot.

The newsagent is just a couple of hundred yards from the car boot and as I left the shop the chap with the extinguisher had caught me up. He was outside another shop in the arcade and had placed the canister on the ground whilst he unlocked the door so I had a better look as I returned to my car. It was clearly a 6 litre water extinguisher but I could see no BS EN3 kitemark or even a CE mark and worse still the safety pin was missing. I recognised the new owner as the proprietor of the shop which is a cafe and chippy which I visit occasionally when we fancy fish and chips.

Now it could be that the extinguisher was intended for some legitimate purpose even though it was clearly not fit for purpose, but the idea of a water extinguisher in proximity to scalding hot fat made me more than uneasy. There is a big difference between genuine approved kite marked budget fire extinguishers as found on our web site and car boot seconds of suspect provenance. The few pounds he may have saved may cost him thousands if the fire inspector calls and finds his “bargain” deployed in the shop. I regret to say I walked on by without putting him in the know but will be on the lookout the next time I call in and may summon the courage to mention the potential pitfalls.