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New standard for portable fire extinguishers

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The Hon. Warren Truss, MR Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs Deputy Leader of the House

29 July 1998 2(52/98


Consumers w ill have access to a wider choice o f fire extinguishers at lower prices under a revised and less prescriptive mandatory standard for portable fire extinguishers, Federal Consumer Affairs Minister Warren Truss said today.

The new standard also ensures the safety o f portable fire extinguishers.

The Minister said the changes follow a review o f the mandatory standard for portable fire extinguishers under the Trade Practices Act 1974. The review began in August 1997 and included extensive consultations with the various parties involved.

“ Safety and reliability are uncompromising factors when regulating standards for fire extinguishers,” M r Truss said.

“ The new standard is less prescriptive than its predecessors, making it easier for manufacturers to use the best design and not be restricted to a particular design.

“ As the standard is less prescriptive it will encourage competition, which should also lead to more choice and lower prices for consumers.”

The new standard covers:

• design issues, such as operation by one operator; • construction issues, such as anti-corrosion treatments; • performance issues, such as fire rating and electrical capability; and • testing requirements, such as pressure tests.

M r Truss said manufacturers would comply with the new mandatory standard by meeting the requirements o f the latest version o f the Australian/New Zealand Standard, AS 1841 parts 1-8 o f 1997. This standard covers issues such as types o f acceptable extinguishers, design, construction, testing and performance. All extinguishers that comply with this standard will also comply with the new mandatory standard.

“ At the same time the new standard also allows compliance with the previous Australian Standard, AS 1841 parts 2-7 o f 1992, until 31 December 1999," M r Truss said.

“ This will allow existing stocks o f fire extinguishers made in accordance with its requirements to be legally sold, and make sure that aerosol fire extinguishers are covered by the mandatory standard until a new standard to cover aerosols is finalised.” ENDS

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