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BRITISH STANDARD

Recommendations for

Licensed copy:Croner Consulting, 02/02/2006, Uncontrolled Copy, BSI

Colour coding to indicate the


extinguishing media contained
in portable fire extinguishers

ICS 01.070; 13.220.10

NO COPYING WITHOUT BSI PERMISSION EXCEPT AS PERMITTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW

| BS 7863 : 1996
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BS 7863 : 1996

Issue 3, October 1997

Committees responsible for this


British Standard

Licensed copy:Croner Consulting, 02/02/2006, Uncontrolled Copy, BSI

The preparation of this British Standard was entrusted to Technical Committee


FSH/2, Fire extinguishers, upon which the following bodies were represented:
Association of Metropolitan Authorities
British Aerosol Manufacturers' Association
British Compressed Gases Association
British Fire Consortium
British Fire Services Association
British Telecommunications plc
Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers' Association
Consumer Policy Committee of BSI
Consumers' Association
Department of the Environment (The Buying Agency)
Fire Extinguishing Trades Association
Home Office
Independent Fire Equipment Distributors' Association
Institution of Fire Engineers
London Fire and Civil Defence Authority
Loss Prevention Council
National Association of Fire Officers
Nationwide Fire Services
Society of Chemical Industry
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited

This British Standard, having


been prepared under the
direction of the Health and Safety
Environment Sector Board, was
published under the authority of
the Standards Board and comes
into effect on
15 May 1996
BSI 1997

The following BSI references


relate to the work on this
standard:
Committee reference FSH/2/11
Draft for comment 95/542662 DC
ISBN 0 580 25845 9

Amendments issued since publication


Amd. No.

Date

Text affected

9299

November
1996

Indicated by a sideline in the margin

9740

October
1997

Indicated by a sideline in the margin

Issue 2, October 1997

BS 7863 : 1996

Summary of pages

Licensed copy:Croner Consulting, 02/02/2006, Uncontrolled Copy, BSI

The following table identifies the current issue of each page. Issue 1 indicates that a page has been introduced
for the first time by amendment. Subsequent issue numbers indicate an updated page. Vertical sidelining on
replacement pages indicates the most recent changes (amendment, addition, deletion).
Page

Issue

Page

Issue

Front cover
Inside front cover
a
b
i

3
3
2
blank
original

ii
1
2
Inside back cover
Back cover

2
2
blank
2
original

BSI 1997

Licensed copy:Croner Consulting, 02/02/2006, Uncontrolled Copy, BSI

blank

BS 7863 : 1996

Contents

Licensed copy:Croner Consulting, 02/02/2006, Uncontrolled Copy, BSI

Committees responsible
Foreword
Recommendations
1
Scope
2
References
3
Definitions
4
Colour for extinguishers
Table
1
Colour coding
List of references

BSI 1996

Page
Inside front cover
ii
1
1
1
1
1
Inside back cover

BS 7863 : 1996

Issue 2, November 1996

Foreword

This British Standard has been prepared by Technical Committee FSH/2 and gives
recommendations for colour coding to indicate the extinguishing media contained in
portable fire extinguishers. Together with BS EN 3, Part 1 to Part 6 and BS 78671) it
supersedes BS 5423 : 1987 which is withdrawn.
The Parts of BS EN 3: Portable fire extinguishers are as follows:

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Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Description, duration of operation, class A and B fire test


Tightness, dielectric test, tamping test, special provisions
Construction, resistance to pressure, mechanical tests
Charges, minimum required fire
Specification and supplementary tests
Provisions for the attestation of conformity of portable fire extinguishers
in accordance with EN 3 Part 1 to Part 5

BS 5423 provided a number of options for the colour of portable fire extinguishers. Not
all of these were consistent with 7.1 of EN 3-5 : 1996. This standard is intended to
provide effective guidance on the use of appropriate colours which are consistent with
the requirements of BS EN 3-5.
Industrial and commercial work is becoming more complex, resulting in an increase in
fire hazard. The range of fire-fighting equipment and media is also increasing and in an
emergency the untrained user is in danger of selecting the wrong equipment for the
situation. Against this background, it is considered that a need exists to provide, for
the general user, a means whereby the contents of fire extinguishers are indicated.
Colour references may have to be modified if international agreement is reached on a
unified convention. Appropriate action should immediately be taken in the event of
any such modifications.
The following extract is taken from 7.1 of BS EN 3-5 : 1996 and states the requirements
for the colour of fire extinguishers.
`Subject to national regulations, the colour of the body shall be red, but in addition
to the marking, a zone of colour of area up to 5 % of the external area of the body
may be used to identify the extinguishing agent in accordance with national
specifications.'
Compliance with a British Standard does not of itself confer immunity
from legal obligations.

1)

ii

In preparation.

BSI 1996

Issue 2, October 1997

BS 7863 : 1996

Recommendations
1 Scope

3 Definitions

This British Standard gives recommendations for the


specific red colour to be used for the body of a
portable fire extinguisher, and for the colour coding
to be used to identify the extinguishing medium.

For the purposes of this British Standard the


definitions of BS EN 3-1 : 1996 apply, together with
the following.
extinguisher body shell
The outer case of the extinguisher without body
fittings.

NOTE. The requirements of EN 3 and the recommendations of this


standard concerning colour coding apply only to new
extinguishers.

4 Colour for extinguishers

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2 References
2.1 Normative references
This British Standard incorporates, by dated or
undated reference, provisions from other
publications. These normative references are made
at the appropriate points in the text and the cited
publications are listed on the inside back cover. For
dated references, only the edition cited applies; any
subsequent amendments to or revisions of the cited
publication apply to this British Standard only when
incorporated in the reference by amendment or
revision. For undated references, the latest edition of
the cited publication applies, together with any
amendments.
2.2 Informative references
This British Standard refers to other publications
that provide information or guidance. Editions of
these publications current at the time of issue of this
standard are listed on the inside back cover, but
reference should be made to the latest editions.

The red colour of the body of a portable fire


extinguisher should be signal red (BS 381C ref 537 or
RAL 3000).
The colour coding used to denote the extinguishing
medium should be as given in table 1.
This colour indication should appear on the front of
the portable fire extinguisher, in accordance with the
requirements of 7.1 of BS EN 3-5 : 1996, and should
be immediately above, but may include the
background to the marking of part 1 of 7.2 of
BS EN 3-5 : 1996. The area of any text or symbols
appearing within the coloured area should be
discounted. The colours should be visible through a
horizontal arc of 180 when the extinguisher is
correctly mounted. The area of the colour indication
should be up to 5 % of the body area, but in no case
less than 3 % of the body area.
All text in section 1 of the label should be in a
colour in contrast to the background colour.
Examples of contrasting colours are given in table 1
of BS 5378 : Part 1 : 1980.
NOTE. Following these recommendations will necessitate
modifications to the marking. In order to allow manufacturers and
suppliers time to implement the recommendations in this clause, it
only applies to extinguishers for which orders are placed after
30 April 1998.

Table 1. Colour coding

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Extinguishing agent

Colour to indicate
extinguishing medium

BS 381C reference

Equivalent RAL colour


reference1)

Water
Foam
Powder (all types)
Carbon dioxide
Vaporizing liquid (including
halons)

Red
Pale cream
Blue
Black
Green

537
352
166

228

RAL 3000
RAL 1014
RAL 5002
RAL 9005
RAL 6016

1)

For RAL colours see: Farbregister RAL 841-GL, RAL Deutsches Institut fur Gutesicherung und Kennzeichnung, Siegberger Strasse
39, D-53757 Sankt Augustin, Germany. [1]

BSI 1997

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Licensed copy:Croner Consulting, 02/02/2006, Uncontrolled Copy, BSI

blank

Issue 2, November 1996

List of references (see clause

BS 7863 : 1996

2)

Normative references
BSI publications
BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION, London

BS 381C : 1988
BS EN 3:
BS EN 3-1 : 1996
BS EN 3-5 : 1996

Specification for colours for identification, coding and special


purposes
Portable fire extinguishers
Description, duration of operation, class A and B fire test
Specification and supplementary tests

Licensed copy:Croner Consulting, 02/02/2006, Uncontrolled Copy, BSI

Informative references
BSI publications
BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION, London

2)BS

7867 : 1996
BS EN 3-2 : 1996
BS EN 3-3 : 1996
BS EN 3-4 : 1996
BS EN 3-6 : 1996

Recommendations for portable fire extinguishers for aircraft


Tightness, dielectric test, tamping test, special provisions
Construction, resistance to pressure, mechanical tests
Charges, minimum required fire
Provisions for the attestation of conformity of portable fire
extinguishers in accordance with EN 3 Part 1 to Part 5

Other references
[1]

2)

Farbregister RAL 841-GL, RAL Deutsches Institut fur Gutesicherung und Kennzeichnung,
Siegberger Strasse 39, D-53757 Sankt Augustin, Germany.

In preparation.

BSI 1996

Licensed copy:Croner Consulting, 02/02/2006, Uncontrolled Copy, BSI

BSI
389 Chiswick High Road
London
W4 4AL

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