Forums » Electrical Engineering

portable CO2 fire extinguisher

    • 156 posts
    February 4, 2019 10:41 AM PST

    Dear all,

    Is it required to have portable CO2 fire extinguisher in Battery and LV room per EN-3 or NFPA.

    thanks in advanced.


  • February 4, 2019 3:04 PM PST

    Not my area of expertise, but I think I was asked to respond.

    Note to HE: Was I?

    In any case reference OSHA


    Scope and application. The requirements of this section apply to the placement, use, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers


    The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers for use by employees on Class A fires so that the travel distance for employees to any extinguisher is 75 feet (22.9 m) or less.

    <!-- 1910.157(d)(4) --> 1910.157(d)(4)

    The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers for use by employees on Class B fires so that the travel distance from the Class B hazard area to any extinguisher is 50 feet (15.2 m) or less.

    <!-- 1910.157(d)(5) --> 1910.157(d)(5)

    The employer shall distribute portable fire extinguishers used for Class C hazards on the basis of the appropriate pattern for the existing Class A or Class B hazards.

    and NFPA 10;

    Common sense and NFPA 10 say that the fire extinguisher should be located where they are readily accessible and available in the event of a fire. These are typically located along normal paths of travel so that you can grab one with ease in the event of a fire.

    Class C

    Required where energized electrical equipment can be encountered. An extinguisher is rated Class C in addition to a Class A or B, so you would follow the distance requirements for either the Class A or Class B hazards.


    Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers

    Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher

    Carbon Dioxide extinguishers are filled with non-flammable carbon dioxide gas under extreme pressure. You can recognize a CO2 extinguisher by its hard horn and lack of pressure gauge. The pressure in the cylinder is so great that when you use one of these extinguishers, bits of dry ice may shoot out the horn.

    CO2 cylinders are red and range in size from 5 lbs to 100 lbs or larger. In the larger sizes, the hard horn will be located on the end of a long, flexible hose.

    Extinguisher LabelCO2s are designed for Class B and C
    (flammable liquid and electrical) fires only.


    So, an extinguisher is required, but maybe not CO2.  CO2 is okay for class C (electrical)  however not for Class A.  One rated for ABC may be required, in which case CO2 is not the one.

    Who knows - this might even be correct.




    • 200 posts
    February 4, 2019 8:22 PM PST

    Thanks for the suggestion for this topic, Hameed.

    The EN3 (European Norm) is more related to the requirements for portable fire extinguishers themselves, more for the construction of all fire extinguishers in the European Union than the installation in some hazardous location. However EN 3-7 (part 7, it replaces EN 3-1, EN 3-2, EN 3-4, EN 3-5) contains characteristics, performance requirements and test methods of fire extinguishers including some risk analysis of areas and distances between extinguishers.

    The NFPA/NEC have few mentions about fire extinguishers, and practically all of them require automatic fire extinguisher instead of a portable one, for rooms with specific electrical equipment, mainly for MV, HV and currents at higher levels.

    As Carl Coulter advised, for US installation the best reference is OSHA, practically all large equipment manufactured in US with (bundled automatic) fire extinguisher follow OSHA requirements even for export. I suppose, as you have this question, it is to be applied an European standard... on your work.

    There is a British Standard BS 5306, mainly Part 8 for installation and guidance as well, related to EN 3-6 (part 6: Provisions for the attestation of conformity of portable fire extinguishers - Amendment 1 or A1:2007). And BS 5306 Part 3 related to EN 3-7, for selecting fire protection equipment for specific risk areas.

    All I can give is some of Rules of Thumb used in some hazardous areas that are similar worldwide.

    1. Portable fire extinguisher is for manual use, so a human must present for its use;

    2. Battery room can be a chemical hazardous area due to the gases expelled by the chemical products of some batteries - therefore there are no humans in many Battery rooms, so there is no portable fire extinguisher inside, but the automatic fire extinguisher is mandatory, as some exhaust system. I am not sure if CO2 type is correct selection for all kinds of batteries. The portable fire extinguisher shall be nearby the Battery room door, and the door shall be opened and exhaust system running during maintenance in such rooms;

    3. LV room, in most cases have both portable and automatic fire extinguisher, usually the last one is mandatory under many standards, mainly in hazardous surroundings such as chemical industry, oil & gas, etc. The portable fire extinguishers for the LV room usually follows the standards based on location where they are installed, not only national or international codes but also types of vessels, ships, platforms where different codes are applied such as ABS, DNV, etc.;

    4. The EN 3-7 considers risks as separated by 20 meters. For safe sealed batteries in the same room of LV panels, the risk calculated based on distance between them: less than 2 meters, in 2 to 20 m meters range and more than 20 meters;

    5. There is Foam+Water portable fire extinguisher with high insulation (35kV nowadays) allowed in Europe as replacement for CO2 that can be used on LV equipment and perhaps some kind of batteries;

    Best regards, keep your good work.

    This post was edited by Alex de Moura at February 4, 2019 8:28 PM PST
    • 156 posts
    February 4, 2019 9:17 PM PST

    Thank you Carl and Alex.

    • 7 posts
    February 6, 2019 7:01 AM PST
    Fire extinguishing comes in various chemical compounds with regards to the intended use in the event of a fire. Code books are common sense requirements that an engineer can add on top of the minimum requirements mandated by code. Chemical fires involving Li ion components are extremely dangerous such that water extinguisher would increase the fire potential. Particularl attention is required to install fire hazard equipment for such chemicals and such chemicals included an MSD sheet for recommendations for storage,controls, & hazard prevention. When in doubt read the MSD!
    • 156 posts
    February 6, 2019 8:17 AM PST

    Thank you Paul. Here is a good screen shot.

    • 5 posts
    February 6, 2019 9:04 AM PST

    Fire extinguishers should be located throughout the workplace and readily accessible in the event of a fire. [29 CFR 1910.157(c)] You can usually find them in hallways, laundry rooms, meeting rooms, kitchens, mechanical/electrical rooms, and near exit doors.