According to the standard BS EN 3, fire extinguishers in the United Kingdom as all throughout Europe are red RAL 3000, and a band or circle of a second color covering between 5–10% of the surface area of the extinguisher indicates the contents. Before 1997, the entire body of the fire extinguisher was color coded according to the type of extinguishing agent.
The UK recognises Six fire classes:
- Class A fires involve organic solids such as paper and wood.
- Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids, including petrol, grease, and oil.
- Class C fires involve flammable gases.
- Class D fires involve combustible metals.
- Class E fires involve electrical equipment/appliances.
- Class F fires involve cooking fat and oil.[
Class E has been discontinued, but covered fires involving electrical appliances. This is no longer used on the basis that, when the power supply is turned off, an electrical fire can fall into any of the remaining five categories.
In the UK the use of Halon gas is now prohibited except under certain situations such as on aircraft and in the military and police.
Fire extinguishing performance per fire class is displayed using numbers and letters such as 13A, 55B.
EN3 does not recognise a separate electrical class – however there is an additional feature requiring special testing (35 kV dielectric test per EN 3-7:2004). A powder or CO2 extinguisher will bear an electrical pictogramme as standard signifying that it can be used on live electrical fires (given the symbol E in the table). If a water-based extinguisher has passed the 35 kV test it will also bear the same electrical pictogramme – however, any water-based extinguisher is only recommended for inadvertent use on electrical fires.