How Many Fire Extinguishers Are Required In A Business Premises? [Building Fire Protection Requirements]

Are you a business owner or building manager who is wondering, “How many fire extinguishers are required in a business premises?”

The building fire extinguisher requirements listed below will guide you on how to meet regulatory compliance for fire protection and ensure the safety of your work facility and employees.

How Many Fire Extinguishers Are Required In a Business Premises?

A business is required to have a fire extinguisher, rated not less than 2A, for every 3,000 square feet of the protected building area, according to OSHA. The travel distance from any point of the protected area in a building shall not exceed 100 feet to the nearest fire extinguisher.

(A complete list of OSHA fire extinguisher requirements can be found after the NFPA guidelines.)

NFPA Fire Extinguisher Placement Guide for Business Buildings

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes and Standards, NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, outlines additional guidance for the installation, placement, and maintenance of commercial extinguishers.

Extinguishers are broken down into the following ratings:

  • Class A: Ordinary Combustibles
  • Class B: Flammable Liquids
  • Class C: Energized Electrical Equipment
  • Class D: Combustible Metals
  • Class K: Cooking Media

The term “maximum travel distance to extinguisher” means that at any point inside the building a person should never have to travel more than the maximum distance to reach a fire extinguisher. The distance being measured is the actual distance a person would need to walk to get the extinguisher without having to walk through walls.

Fire Extinguisher ClassMax Travel DistanceNotes
A75 ft.Travel distance can be altered by the type of hazard anticipated and the numerical A rating of the extinguisher.
B30 ft. or 50 ft.Travel distance is based on the type of hazard anticipated and the numerical B rating of the extinguisher.
CN/ASince extinguishers are never only Class C rated, you need to follow the Class A or Class B rating requirements
D75 ft.
K30 ft.

Extinguisher Installation height

Extinguishers need to be installed at least 4 inches off the ground up to a maximum of 5 ft. The exception to this requirement is for extinguishers heavier than 40 lbs., which must be installed up to 3 ft. 6 inches off the ground. Wheeled fire extinguishers do not need to be off the ground because the wheels already keep the cylinder from touching the floor.

Extinguisher on wall for building fire extinguisher requirements

OSHA Building Fire Extinguisher Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulation Standard 1926.150(c)(1)(i) has the following requirements for building extinguishers:


Fire extinguishers and small hose lines.


A fire extinguisher, rated not less than 2A, shall be provided for each 3,000 square feet of the protected building area, or major fraction thereof. Travel distance from any point of the protected area to the nearest fire extinguisher shall not exceed 100 feet.


One 55-gallon open drum of water with two fire pails may be substituted for a fire extinguisher having a 2A rating.


A ½-inch diameter garden-type hose line, not to exceed 100 feet in length and equipped with a nozzle, may be substituted for a 2A-rated fire extinguisher, providing it is capable of discharging a minimum of 5 gallons per minute with a minimum hose stream range of 30 feet horizontally. The garden-type hose lines shall be mounted on conventional racks or reels. The number and location of hose racks or reels shall be such that at least one hose stream can be applied to all points in the area.


One or more fire extinguishers, rated not less than 2A, shall be provided on each floor. In multistory buildings, at least one fire extinguisher shall be located adjacent to stairway.


Extinguishers and water drums, subject to freezing, shall be protected from freezing.


A fire extinguisher, rated not less than 10B, shall be provided within 50 feet of wherever more than 5 gallons of flammable or combustible liquids or 5 pounds of flammable gas are being used on the jobsite. This requirement does not apply to the integral fuel tanks of motor vehicles.


Carbon tetrachloride and other toxic vaporizing liquid fire extinguishers are prohibited.


Portable fire extinguishers shall be inspected periodically and maintained in accordance with Maintenance and Use of Portable Fire Extinguishers, NFPA No. 10A-1970.


Fire extinguishers which have been listed or approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, shall be used to meet the requirements of this subpart.


Table F-1 may be used as a guide for selecting the appropriate portable fire extinguishers.


Fire hose and connections.


One hundred feet, or less, of 1½-inch hose, with a nozzle capable of discharging water at 25 gallons or more per minute, may be substituted for a fire extinguisher rated not more than 2A in the designated area provided that the hose line can reach all points in the area.


If fire hose connections are not compatible with local firefighting equipment, the contractor shall provide adapters, or equivalent, to permit connections.


During demolition involving combustible materials, charged hose lines, supplied by hydrants, water tank trucks with pumps, or equivalent, shall be made available.

Inspecting and Servicing Business Fire Extinguishers

In addition to having the right amount of fire extinguishers at your business, you also need to make sure they are not expired and are serviced regularly. See these related guides for more details on those topics:

Get the Right Number of Fire Extinguishers for Your Building Premises

Now that you know how many fire extinguishers are required in a business premises, it’s essential that you get the right number of extinguishers, and the correct Class, for your building. By following these OSHA and NFPA building fire extinguisher requirements, you can ensure you’re complying with the latest fire protection laws.