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Monarch Fire News

Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers at home

It is very rare to come across a home these days without acceptable smoke alarms. However, if you need to replace your old alarms, which ones do you choose? For that matter, do you need a fire extinguisher at home? Which type of extinguisher should you choose and where is the best place to position these items? 

Private houses are covered by different rules to commercial properties, a normal house will only require linked smoke alarms, whereas a larger domestic property will come under LD3 regulations and will require monitored detection. Householders are not required by law to install fire extinguishers. 

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Which smoke alarm? 

When it comes to choosing the right alarm for your home, there are 4 types to choose from. 

  1. Optical: Effective at detecting larger particles of smoke from slow burning fires. Not for use in kitchens, these alarms are likely to go off if you burn your toast. 

  1. Ionisation: Relatively easy to install and least expensive. These alarms are very sensitive to small smoke particles from fast burning fires and will sound before smoke gets thick. 

  1. Heat alarms: Suitable for kitchens, but cover very small areas so a large kitchen may require more alarms. These alarms are not sensitive to smoke particles. 

  1. Combination alarms: These combine both optical and ionisation smoke alarms. These alarms will detect the most common household fires - slow burning, for example from wiring and fast burning fires that produce flames. 

These categories should help you decide which alarm to choose, but get in touch with us if you need any further advice. 

Which fire extinguisher should I choose? 

Very commonly, fire blankets are recommended for use in the home, particularly in the kitchen. These are recommended for use on cooker top fires primarily, alongside many other common smaller fires. However, fire blankets can impose a risk themselves. There is a greater risk of injury to the user, in the form of burns, than if a dedicated Class F fire extinguisher is used. 

Class F Fire Extinguishers 


These yellow fire extinguishers are specialist extinguishers and are designed for use on deep fat fryers. It is a proven fact that these extinguishers are the only ones that will put out a deep fat fryer that is on fire. They work in 2 ways:  

  1. They smother the fire and act like foam in sealing the liquid from the oxygen.  

  1. The chemicals contained within the extinguisher react with the burning oil or fat and cool it.  

These extinguishers are available in 2 sizes and when operated they must be fully discharged into the fire in order for them to work correctly. In addition to fryers they can be used on Class A and B fires, involving materials such as wood, fabric and paper, but the additional chemicals within the extinguisher can make the area sprayed very slippery. 

Watch the video of a class F fire extinguisher in use here. 

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What should I do with my old fire extinguisher?

If you need to get rid of your old fire extinguisher,  it is your responsibility to ensure they are disposed of in an appropriate way. Although there is no legal requirement to prove you have followed safety guidelines, you cannot simply put it in the bin. As a pressurised container, fire extinguishers can be potentially explosive, harmful or even deadly. Condemned, part-used or vandalised fire extinguishers must not be allowed to become dangerous waste, or allowed to re-enter the supply system by any means. So what are the options available to you?

What about the tip?

Oxfordshire County Council recycling and waste advises as follows:

‘Old fire extinguishers can be returned to the retailer or supplier. Please note that extensively corroded extinguishers cannot be accepted.

Please do not place fire extinguishers in your dustbin or in the containers at Waste Recycling Centre as they may explode if they are crushed. Staff at the Waste Recycling Centres will show you to the area where they can be stored safely before being reused. Please make sure that:

  • All empty extinguishers have the handles securely taped together
  • Full/part full extinguishers have safety pin in place
  • Carbon Dioxide extinguishers should have a blanking cap if a swivel horn is not attached’

This is where Monarch Fire (UK) Ltd. and Fire Protection Recycling come in.

How does my fire extinguisher retailer/supplier take care of it?

Monarch Fire can remove old fire extinguishers from site, if requested. If you are having new fire extinguishers installed, there will be no delay in the removal of the old ones there will no charge and you will be left with a service certificate for your records. A small fee will be charged if no replacement is required.

Monarch Fire do not recycle the fire extinguishers ourselves, but store them safely until Fire Protection Recycling collect them for disposal.

Fire Protection Recycling and what they do

Fire Protection Recycling provide fire extinguisher disposal through the safe and guaranteed recycling of fire extinguishers and fire protection equipment. They hold both a registered waste carrier licence and ISO 9001:2008. Monarch Fire (UK) Ltd. can confidently reassure our customers that almost 100% of the fire extinguisher is recycled. This assists you with your health & safety and environmental policies and responsibilities. The effective and conscientious disposal and recycling of fire extinguishers and related equipment forms part of the responsibilities of any business or public sector company.

All you need to do

So, when you have identified a fire extinguisher that needs removal, you can rest assured it will be disposed of quickly, safely and with an environmental conscience. All you need to do is get in touch and ask us to remove your property and we will take of it.

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Are you ignoring British Standards for fire extinguishers?

The British Standards Institute (BSI) Group produce a number of standards by which products manufactured within Britain, should adhere to. One of the objectives as laid down by the authority, The Royal Charter, is as follows:

'Set up standards of quality for goods and services, and prepare and promote the general adoption of British Standards and schedules in connection therewith and from time to time to revise, alter and amend such standards and schedules as experience and circumstances require'

—BSI Royal Charter, Faller and Graham (

The British Standards are not out of date or merely “suggested guidance”The legislation of the Fire Safety Order (FSO) requires a Responsible Person to make use of Competent Persons to carry out maintenance; the guides to the FSO make reference to all the relevant British Standards (as working guidance documents) to carry out this maintenance. When fire safety is concerned it is not safe to make personal judgements on which parts of the standards we like and which parts we want to ignore for expediency or ‘cheapness for the customer’.

Ignorance is not an excuse

Best practice is exactly what it says. The practice of the best standards as advised by the experts. Ignoring British Standards and going against The Royal Charter's authority could land you with staff or members of the public at serious risk of injury, not to mention, in serious legal hot water. All guidance documents are freely available to ensure you are compliant and have HSE guidance on their website.

Correct equipment

IFEDA have seen foam extinguishers advertised as a 'one for all' fire extinguisher, suitable for use on all fires. Part 8 of BS5306-8 specifically states that only powder or CO2 is safe for use on electrical risk fires and therefore, the installation of a 'one for all' fire extinguisher is going against British Standards. Admittedly foam extinguishers can be tested and pass a 35kva dielectric test – however pooling and/or wetted surfaces can still result with the possibility of electric current passing through or along – hence the stipulation for CO2

IFEDA has also seen a water based extinguisher that has a C class pictogram on it. Yet BS EN 3 states that only powder extinguishers shall carry this ‘C’ pictogram/marking, that signify fires involving gasses.

Below is a perfect example of a small diagram you could use to remind everyone of the correct fire extinguishers to install and when it is appropriate to use them.

If you are the responsible person, make sure you fulfil that role and ensure British Standards are not ignored.

Fire extinguisher servicing and maintenance

To ensure ongoing compliance with British Standards, you must keep safety checks up to date. Monarch Fire (UK) Ltd offer a number of Fire Extinguisher servicing and maintenance packages: from a basic fixed fee extinguisher service to more comprehensive package. Both include Fire Extinguisher testing and fitting.


Inspiration taken from 
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8 Basic fire escape must haves

No matter how many standards we comply to, how many risk assessments are completed or how many procedures we follow, accidents will happen. So, the correct equipment has been installed, including glow in the dark Jalite fire signage (or similar), hose reels, fire alarms and fire extinguishers. However, plans must be in place in the event of a fire breaking out.

Escape must haves

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7 tips for the proper maintenance of portable fire extinguishers

Make sure you keep your maintenance up to date

Fire authorities are actively prosecuting employers for failing to maintain essential fire safety equipment – the maximum penalty is a prison term. Don't let this happen to you. BS5306 Part 3 requires that fire extinguishers are maintained at least annually by a competent person. This is someone who has a qualification issued by a third party organisation such as IFEDA, FPA, FETA or FIA.

  1. Make sure you provide the proper equipment. 'Designer' chrome fire extinguishers cannot hold BS EN approval. This is because BSI standards can only be applied to extinguishers painted red with a label no larger than 5% of their area.

  1. All new fire extinguishers must be commissioned by a competent person on site following delivery. The commissioning must include positioning the extinguishers in their correct location and checking their suitability for that location.

  1. The British Standard sets out a maintenance schedule which involves a weekly check, monthly visual inspection, a basic annual service and extended services at 5-yearly intervals until the end of the extinguisher's useful life, at around 20-years-old. Carbon dioxide extinguishers must be refurbished after 10 years.

  1. Annual services should include a detailed examination for damage, pressure indicator checks, measurement of pressure and weight of extinguisher contents, and checking of mechanisms.

  1. Extended servicing should include more rigorous testing together with a discharge test.

  1. Your weekly check can be undertaken by an employee and is simply to check for extinguisher use or damage.

  1. Your monthly visual inspection should check that each extinguisher is correctly located, is visible and not obstructed; the operating instructions are clear and fully visible; the extinguisher has not been discharged, is undamaged and has no missing parts; the pressure gauge is within the safe range; and the anti-tamper seals are intact. A record of these checks should be kept on file, preferably in your fire log book..

Basic Fixed Fee

Our basic fixed fee includes testing all your fire extinguishers and also includes service spares for a fixed fee instead of charging individually, giving you better value for money. There is an additional charge for British Standard Extended Services (required every 5 years).

Comprehensive Service

Our comprehensive service is a fixed fee that includes all British Standard Extended Services as well as all service spares.

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The risks of installing improperly sourced fire extinguishers

A new survey of members, conducted by Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association (IFEDA) has uncovered some alarming findings about the risks of fire extinguishers working improperly.

Around 75% of those surveyed stated that their companies were now coming across fire extinguishers that had been supplied from the web. For many of these companies, the IFEDA members had identified that the fire extinguishers in question had been in prominent places and intended for immediate access in the first instance of fire.

What are you at risk of?

From the point of view of our customers, fire extinguishers that are installed without proper inspection are likely to fall outside of the required 'commissioning service' as specified by British Standards. These extinguishers are likely to pose a risk to those intended to use them in the event of an emergency.

However, the purchase of fire extinguishers on line is not only risky due to the improper guidance during installation, but some extinguishers had even been found to have leaked in transit and unwittingly supplied empty.   

Further examples of common errors included

  • extinguishers placed into 'ready to use' locations by untrained persons without discharge hoses fitted
  • inappropriate extinguishers placed in areas to cover the risks present
  • carbon dioxide extinguishers placed into service without diffuser horns being correctly secured.

 The survey also highlighted that up to 60% of businesses and properties that had ‘self’ installed fire extinguishers did not meet even the basic requirements of BS5306 Parts 3 and Part 8.

Legal Implications

These disturbing findings have the potential, following any form of fire, for major disputes with insurance companies in the event of any claims; in the most extreme cases, not only could it result in loss of cover, but it could also involve legal action against the person or persons responsible for the procurement and installation of the faulty device, under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (FSO).

As a consequence IFEDA is now advising all its members to make their customers aware of these findings. Monarch Fire, alongside IFEDA would strongly advise that any company or organisation that requires fire safety equipment should seek the advice of an approved fire protection specialist in the purchase and installation of equipment.

Working with us

We carry out a survey of your site to ensure you have the right equipment for the premises and will recommend what is needed to ensure you are compliant. It is essential to have the correct number and type of fire extinguishers on site for safety and compliance but we will ensure you are not buying equipment you do not need.

Although we are a friendly and relaxed bunch we take fire safety and our commitment to the best service very seriously. We focus our service in the Oxfordshire and surrounding areas but can travel further afield depending on the scope of the survey.

Inspiration for this blog taken from Fire Magazine

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Changes in Legislation to EMS 5000 Wireless Fire Alarms

We specialise in wireless fire alarm systems and have fitted numerous systems throughout Oxfordshire.

Change in legislation regarding the EMS System 5000 wireless fire alarms, that came into effect last year, dictates that new installations of wireless systems must be under specific regulations as set out in European Construction Products Regulation 305/2011.

Any currently installed systems are not affected by the changes, but will only be under maintenance agreements until 2018.  EMS will continue to supply parts for repair and maintenance until July of that year.

The wireless fire alarm systems we supply carry a 3 or 5 year warranty. Wireless fire alarm systems have battery lives of either 2-4 or 5 years depending on the environment and whether you have a standard or premier system installed. We will be able to advise you on the exact specifications of your systems, upon inspection of your fire log book.

So what about new installations?

New installations of the EMS wireless fire alarms will be specified as the Firecell Platform. EMS Firecell is a comprehensive analogue addressable fire detection solution, with a set of features that make it one of the most advanced fire detection systems available.


Wireless fire alarms do not require meters of expensive fire proof cable and most importantly there is no down time for your business. Both our systems are programmed off site so they need only be screwed to the walls and ceilings and switched on.

No obligation quote

Monarch Fire (UK) Ltd offer a no obligation quotation service involving a site survey and a quotation service. We endeavour to be on site within 24-48 hours after the initial request or at a convenient time for you. Written quotations are then normally submitted within 3-5 days from the site survey.

Once our quote is accepted we also supply an equipment type and location list to be held in the fire log book so you know what you have and where it is as well as when the next discharge test is due.

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Some wording and images have been taken from

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We are now members of IFEDA

Founded in 1989, the key aim of the Independent Fire Engineering and Distributors Association is to promote quality standards and procedures within the fire protection industry, ensuring all members work towards, and achieve, ISO 9001:2008 and the appropriate BAFE module to their business e.g: SP101/ST104 for fire extinguisher servicing.

What it means to you

Monarch Fire is extremely proud to announce that we are now counted among the many respected members of the association which aims to raise the standards within the fire safety industry thorough:

  • Ensuring members achieve and maintain a quality system in accordance with BS EN ISO 9001: 2008 in line with requirements of the appropriate BAFE scheme

  • Ensuring members operate the appropriate BAFE scheme/s requiring the licensing of all service personnel

  • Providing communication on key legislative changes and other industry related news

  • Providing a bank of data, technical memos, and other relevant information

  • To regularly produce newsletters keeping members informed

  • To provide training courses to keep members, and non-members, up-to-date with certificated qualifications, including BAFE recognised training courses; of which fire
    extinguisher training is of paramount importance

Monarch Fire has been recognised as meeting already high standards of service in the industry, which have been rewarded with this membership. You can be sure that we are dedicated to the same professional standards as IFEDA and this will be reflected in everything we do to safeguard you and your business.

What it means to us

IFEDA runs a number of fire industry training courses, which are BAFE (British Approvals for Fire Equipment) approved. From fire extinguisher servicing training to fire alarm maintenance training, hose reels to dry riser training, IFEDA ensure our technicians are thoroughly trained to a high standard.

Taking part in regular training ensures that Monarch Fire will always be at the highest standard the fire safety industry can offer. Not only that, but IFEDA run events throughout the year, further ensuring that we get to play a little golf with our contemporaries from time to time!

In short

We are extremely proud of Monarch Fire, our high standards and our passion for fire safety. We pledge that Monarch Fire will continue to strive to meet the highest standards within the fire safety industry and you will directly benefit from our efforts to do so.

Some content for this blog was taken from

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Dry Risers: The what, why and how of the vertical pipe system

Dry Risers: The what, why and how of the vertical pipe system

A ‘dry riser’ is quite simply a vertical pipe system, consisting of inlet valves, pipe work and outlet valves.  The system is designed to be attached to a fire engine tank within 18m of it’s inlet valve.  The pipe enables water to be delivered to multiple levels of a building as part of the fire suppression system, allowing access to the system from within the building at various outlet valves.

The opposite of a ‘wet riser’, dry riser pipes stand empty of water but should also be housed within a fire resistant shaft.  The building regulations requirements state that all buildings over 18 meters should be fitted with this system, ensuring that taller buildings and compartmentalized areas, such as hospital corridors, are allowed easy access to water in the event of a fire.

Dry riser regulations:

The building regulations surrounding the installation of a dry riser is the are pretty simple and they follow guidelines set by the British standard code of practice.

  • Firstly dry riser regulations state that they should be installed in buildings where the floor is 18 metres above ground level to 60 metres above ground level.
  • The consideration for the design of the dry riser mains should be that all of the fittings and pipe work should be made out of galvanized wrought steel.
  • Before installation building regulations must be adhered to and if needed planning permission sought.
  • The fire service should be consulted and their advice on a suitable position for the units to be installed taken. This is because they will be the ones doing all of the work and using the equipment therefore it needs to be to their standards.
  • The dry riser should be situated near a water supply so that adequate flow can be obtained for fire fighting purposes.
  • A dry riser will need to be checked and serviced twice a year under regulations that state a professional company must come in and conduct a full test annually whilst also going six monthly checkups.

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