Understanding Fire Extinguisher Regulations in India

Introduction

Fire safety is extremely important, especially in crowded places like offices, schools, hospitals, and other public spaces. Understanding Fire Extinguisher Regulations in India can start easily from electrical faults, cooking accidents, smoking materials, or other ignition sources. Once started, fires can spread rapidly and endanger lives and property.

Having fire extinguishers readily available is a critical component of fire safety. Fire extinguishers allow people to act quickly to put out a small fire before it grows into a catastrophic emergency A few seconds can make all the difference in containing a fire before major damage occurs.

Fire extinguishers are specialized devices filled with chemicals designed to extinguish fires. Different types of extinguishers work on different kinds of fires. Using the right type of extinguisher for the specific fire is crucial. With proper selection, training, maintenance and placement of fire extinguishers, many fires can be extinguished at the initial stage itself. This helps minimize injuries, loss of life and property damage.

Knowing the regulations and standards for fire extinguishers is important for businesses, building owners and facilities managers. This ensures they are compliant with the law and following best practices for fire safety. This article will provide an overview of the key rules and regulations regarding fire extinguishers in India.

Fire Extinguisher Regulations in India Standards

fire extinguisher rules regulations in india

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has laid down specific standards for the manufacture, testing, installation and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers in India. These standards ensure the quality, reliability and effectiveness of fire extinguishers.

Manufacturing Standards

  • IS 15683:2006 – This covers general requirements for the construction, testing and approval procedures for portable fire extinguishers. It specifies requirements for the cylinder body, discharge valve, discharge hose, extinguishing media etc.
  • IS 10658:1999 – This specifies requirements for stored pressure type extinguishers which use nitrogen, carbon dioxide or dry air as the expellant gas.
  • IS 15644:2006 – This specifies requirements for cartridge operated type extinguishers where the expellant gas is in a cartridge.

Testing Standards

  • IS 15644:2006 – It lays down testing methods for fire extinguishers including hydrostatic pressure test, leakage test, discharge test, fire rating test etc. These validate the extinguisher’s integrity and performance.
  • IS 2171:2010 – This specifies the color coding scheme for different types of extinguishers based on the extinguishing media. This helps in quick identification during a fire emergency.

Installation Standards

  • IS 2190:2010 – This covers the selection, installation and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers. It specifies requirements for accessibility, visibility, mounting height, clearance space and signage.

Strict compliance with BIS standards guarantees that fire extinguishers conform to the required performance and safety criteria. These standards are consistently revised to remain in accordance with global best practices.

Fire Extinguisher Capacity

Fire extinguishers in India are rated based on their extinguishing capacity which determines how much fire they can handle. The rating system uses letters and numbers to indicate the class of fire that an extinguisher is effective against as well as the relative extinguishing potential.

The number rating indicates the extinguishing capacity in relation to water. For example, a 5A rated extinguisher has the equivalent extinguishing capacity of 5 gallons of water. Higher numbers indicate larger extinguishing capacity.

The letter rating corresponds to the type of fire that the extinguisher can be used on:

  • Class A fires involve ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, cloth etc. Extinguishers for these fires are rated A.
  • Class B fires involve flammable liquids like petrol, diesel, paint etc. Extinguishers for these are rated B.
  • Class C fires involve electrical equipment. Extinguishers meant for these are rated C.
  • Class D fires involve combustible metals like magnesium, sodium, aluminum etc. Extinguishers for such fires are rated D.

So a 5A/10B extinguisher has a 5A rating for Class A fires meaning it has the same extinguishing capacity as 5 gallons of water for ordinary combustibles. Its 10B rating means it can extinguish twice as much volume of flammable liquid fires.

Higher rated extinguishers are bulkier and heavier but can put out larger fires. Portable extinguishers in offices and homes usually range from 1A to 10A and 5B to 20B capacity.

Mandatory Fire Extinguisher Requirements

fire extinguisher rules regulations in india

In India, fire extinguishers are mandatory in all commercial and industrial establishments as per the National Building Code and various state-level fire safety codes. Some key rules for installing fire extinguishers are:

  • Workplaces with over 10 employees must have portable fire extinguishers installed within a travel distance of 15 meters. The number and capacity depends on the floor area.
  • Public buildings like malls, hotels, hospitals, schools etc. must have adequate portable extinguishers installed within a travel distance of 22.5 meters.
  • Factories and industrial units must install portable fire extinguishers within a travel distance of 15 meters based on the floor area and fire hazard class. Specialized extinguishers may be needed for certain hazards.
  • Extinguishers must be placed in easily accessible and visible locations, near exits, staircases or normal paths of travel. They should be clearly marked with signboards.
  • Vehicles like buses, taxis and autos must carry a 1kg ABC type extinguisher.
  • Kitchens in hotels, restaurants and other buildings must have appropriate fire extinguishers for oil and electrical fires.
  • Hazardous areas like generator rooms, electrical panels, chemical storage must have suitable extinguishers installed within 5-10 meters access.

The capacity and type of extinguishers needed depends on the floor area, occupancy type, fire hazards and risk levels. Proper selection, installation and maintenance as per Indian standards is critical. Non-compliance can attract penalties.

Inspection and Maintenance

fire extinguisher rules regulations in india

All fire extinguishers must be periodically inspected, maintained, and recharged as per the guidelines set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). This is critical to ensure they remain in proper working condition and can be effectively used in case of a fire emergency.

Inspection

  • All extinguishers must be visually inspected monthly. This checks for any signs of damage, corrosion, leakage or clogging.
  • An annual maintenance check must be done by authorized and trained personnel. This involves a thorough examination of the extinguisher to confirm it is in good working order.

Recharging

  • Dry chemical extinguishers need to be recharged every 3 years.
  • CO2 extinguishers must be recharged every 10 years.
  • Water and foam extinguishers need to be recharged every year.
  • During recharging, the extinguishing agent is refilled and pressurized. The hose and valve are also checked.

Replacement

  • As per BIS, the life of a fire extinguisher cylinder is 15 years.
  • Extinguishers older than 15 years must be replaced with new units, even if they appear in usable condition.
  • Extinguishers that have been used for putting out a fire, even partially, must be replaced immediately. They cannot be recharged and reused.

Proper inspection, recharging and replacement as per these guidelines is mandatory. Records must be maintained for all maintenance procedures.

Penalties for Non-compliance

fire extinguisher rules regulations in india

Failing to install and maintain fire extinguishers as per regulations can result in hefty fines and penalties in India. Here are some key consequences:

  • As per National Building Code of india, not installing fire extinguishers in a building is punishable with a fine of up to Rs 10,000. The fine can go up to Rs 50,000 for repeated offenses.
  • For commercial establishments like offices, malls, hospitals etc. not maintaining fire extinguishers properly can lead to a penalty of Rs 50,000 as per laws.
  • Under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, the fine for not installing fire safety equipment like extinguishers can go up to Rs 50 lakhs along with imprisonment up to 3 months.
  • The Delhi Fire Service Act has provision for a fine of Rs 10,000 for not installing the mandatory fire extinguishers in a building.
  • The fire department can issue a notice prohibiting the occupancy of a building where fire safety norms are violated.
  • In case of a fire breaking out in a premise without fire extinguishers, the owner/occupier can be held liable and imprisoned.

So it is critical for businesses and building owners to install approved fire extinguishers as per the laid down capacity and maintain them well to avoid legal penalties. Proper fire safety is not a matter of choice but a mandatory requirement with serious consequences for non-compliance.

Fire extinguishers play a crucial role in fire safety and are mandated in many public and commercial buildings in India. When properly installed, inspected, and maintained, they can help contain and extinguish small fires before they spread.

Ultimately, following fire extinguisher regulations demonstrates a commitment to safety that benefits all stakeholde

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