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Fire Safety Certificates

Locating fire extinguishers

Fire extinguisher location requirements
by John Carmichael

The requirements for the location of portable fire extinguishers is governed by the Australian standard AS2444. There are no simple rules to follow because each building is different, both in its layout, and fire risks. There are some general guidelines for locating fire extinguishers on the wall, and for the travelling distance to get to a fire extinguisher.

The advice on this page is of a general nature and should not be relied upon for your specific requirements we suggest you contact us for an assessment.

We can arrrange a fire safety inspection to check you are meeting the requirements to get your Annual Fire Safety Statement

Location of fire extinguisher on a wallFire extinguisher mounting heights:

The AS2444 specifies that the base of the extinguisher must be mounted at least 10 cms off the floor, and the top of it should be no more than 1.2mtrs above the floor. Within those boundaries you want to mount the fire extinguisher so it is not knocked by cleaning equipment, or kicked by passers by. Ideally located at roughly elbow height so the user can grab the handle easily. If damage due to people traffic is an issue, you should consider locating it in a fire extinguisher cabinet. There is no specific qualification for installing a fire extinguisher, it is after all, just screwing in a bracket. But the position of the fire extinguisher within the building, is best determined by a fire service company. If the fire extinguisher is not correctly located you will not get your Fire Safety Certificate signed!

Location of fire extinguisher signs

A fire extinguisher is usually accompanied by two signs, an ID sign which shows what sort of fires it should be used on, and a location sign. The fire extinguisher location sign is mounted at least 2 metres above the ground and tells people that a fire extinguisher is located underneath. The sign should be placed so that it is clearly visible for up to 20 mtrs. In some situations you might need one that mounts at right angles to the wall so it can be seen down a corridor. The fire extinguisher ID sign is placed immediately above the extinguisher.

Fire extinguisher travel distance

Wet chemicalOr - how far the nearest fire extinguisher is from the fire hazard. This distance varies between 15 mtrs and 40mtrs depending on the nature of the fire risk. So for Class A fire risks where there is no fire sprinkler system, the Australian standard specifies 15 mtrs as the maximum. In an office situation where the risk is an electrical fire from computers or photocopiers, the maximum distance is 40 mtrs. The number of fire extinguishers needed is also influenced by the square area to be protected. For class B fires it depends on the risk, the area to be covered and the rating of the extingusher. These calculations can get complicated and it is recommended to get a suitably qualified person to determine the number, type and placement of fire extinguishers. Our fire service team can do this assessment for you.

Where to put fire extinguisher

CO2 fire extinguisherWithin the boundaries of travel distance to the fire extinguisher, area protected, and fire risk type, it is important to locate the fire extinguisher so it is not too close to the possible source of a fire. If the fire extinguisher is too close to the fire you will not be able to grab it to put the fire out! For a cooking oils or fat fire risk (type F risk) the fire extinguisher must be at least 2 mtrs from the risk. For electrical switchboards a 5kg carbon dioxide is recommended, no closer than 2 mtrs to the switchboard. Ideally the fire extinguisher is also located near an exit. Fire extinguishers cannot be hidden behind boxes, doors or curtains ie they must be easily acessible and in view, even though they may not match the decor!

Australian fire extinguisher colour codes

Each type of fire extinguisher carries a coloured band at the top, and should have an ID sign above it.

Colour band
Type of extinguisher
carbon dioxide signABE sign Wet chemical
Dry Powder
Wet Chemical
Carbon dioxide

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