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Warning for Norfolk Fire Extinguishers

14 August 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

In its warning on the Norfolk range of large dry powder fire extinguishers, manufactured before 2009, the HSE states that they may be affected by moisture ingress at a threaded joint at the base of the unit, rendering the unit inoperable.

Unfortunately, the problem may not be identified during routine service inspections and the concern has come about from a recent fire on a chemical plant when three wheeled dry powder fire extinguishers, containing 45kg of Monnex dry powder, failed to discharge when activated.

This safety alert relates to dry powder units manufactured between 1970 and 2009. An identifying feature of these units is that the discharge hose is coupled at the base of the unit via a threaded metal elbow joint. The HSE is advising businesses and organisations to do the following:

  • Users should identify if their extinguishers are likely to be affected. If yes and the extinguisher has been left exposed to adverse conditions since its last extended service, the condition of the elbow joint at the base of the unit should be examined by a competent service engineer.
  • If you are unsure if your extinguishers are affected by this safety alert, consult Britannia Fire Ltd.
  • Service engineers should closely examine and if necessary, remove the elbow to confirm if there is evidence of water ingress to the discharge tube. If there is any doubt about moisture affecting the powder in the discharge tube, consider subjecting the extinguisher to an extended service, including full replacement of the dry powder.


The flexible discharge hose is normally removed during servicing however the elbow joint is not usually disturbed. It is believed that water ingress at this joint resulted in caking of the dry powder within the elbow joint. The caked powder may fall back from the discharge tube into the body of the extinguisher and so not seen during basic servicing. Upon activation of the extinguisher, the caked powder can block the discharge hose and render the unit inoperable.

If you are unsure if your units are affected by this safety alert, consult Britannia Fire Ltd.

Picture:    The Norfolk range of large dry powder fire extinguishers, manufactured before 2009, may have problems with water ingress.

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 14 August 2015


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