Fire Extinguishers Selection Guide

The selection of appropriate fire extinguisher is related to the assessment of risk. This assessment is often difficult in areas outside of those covered by codes of compliance. The assessment of risk is particularly difficult when it comes to protecting items that are operated outside of the usual suburban environment.

The factors, which must be considered in these situations, include the availability of support services such as the Fire Service etc. This is very important with the increase in boating and 4WD activities. Far too often we see the attempt to cover boats and vehicles worth $30,000 - $40,000 with an under-rated $50.00 fire extinguisher.

This selection guide is offered only to assist in the selection of extinguishers. It is not to be viewed as replacing any compliance codes, building codes or any legislation which may at any time direct the installation of any particular extinguisher.

If in doubt, seek expert advice for your requirements - contact our Customer Services team.


Which fire extinguisher is best for my Home? 

Best choice of fire extinguisher

ABE Dry Powder and Fire Blanket
Minimum rating 1A:20B:E

Alternative choice of fire extinguisher

Wet Chemical


  • ABE Dry Powder extinguisher is suitable for fire in your home however never use it on a cooking oil or fat fire.
  • A Wet Chemical extinguisher is best for extinguishing cooking oil and fat fires. ABE fire extinguisher should be used on most classes of fire in the home.  Don’t use wet chemical extinguishers on fires with a live electrical source.
  • Protect your home against the widest range of fire hazards with both an ABE Dry Powder extinguisher and a Wet Chemical extinguisher.
  • You can also use a fire blanket as an alternative to a wet chemical extinguisher for cooking oil and fat fires.
  • The wet chemical extinguisher or fire blanket should be positioned close to the kitchen, on an escape route to the outside.
  • As electricity may pose a significant secondary hazard, ensure power is isolated before extinguishing a stove-top fire.

Which fire extinguisher is best for my Garage?

Best choice of fire extinguisher

ABE Dry Powder
Minimum rating 2A:20B:E. Preferred rating 2A:40B:E

Alternative choice of fire extinguisher



  • Unwanted fires in a garage or shed will most likely be influenced by your hobbies and activities carried out in there.
  • Flammable liquid fires present a major concern if you have fuels, paints and solvents in your garage or shed.


Which fire extinguisher is best for my Car?

Best choice of fire extinguisher

ABE Dry Powder

Alternative choice of fire extinguisher



  • Fires in cars most often happen because of a collision, repairs to bodywork using welding equipment, or electrical faults.
  • The presence of flammable fuels is the major concern.
  • Electrical equipment is not usually of concern due to the low voltage used in cars.
  • An extinguisher should be securely fastened, preferably in the boot space, to avoid the risk of injury in the event of a collision.


Which fire extinguisher is best for my Boat?

Best choice of fire extinguisher

ABE Dry Powder and Fire Blanket

Alternative choice of fire extinguisher

Foam and Fire Blanket


  • Boat fires are also likely to involve flammable liquids or result from a gas explosion from leaking LPG or CNG.
  • Wet Chemical extinguishers, good for cooking oil or fat fires, are not suitable for use on liquid fuel fires.
  • Foam extinguishers, good for flammable liquids, will have limited effect on cooking oil and fat fires.
  • The electrical supply on the boat will need to be considered if a 230-volt system is used.  Wet chemical and foam extinguishers are not suitable for use on live electrical sources.


Which fire extinguisher is best for my Caravan?

Best choice of fire extinguisher

ABE Dry Powder and Fire Blanket

Alternative choice of fire extinguisher

Wet chemical and ABE Dry Powder


  • A fire in the kitchen is the most likely type of fire to occur in your caravan. So your first choice of an extinguisher should be positioned close to the escape route to the outside.


How Do I Maintain My Fire Extinguisher?

Knowing how to use your fire extinguisher is only the first step in the fire safety process. A broken, damaged or malfunctioning extinguisher will be of no use in an emergency, so ensuring yours is in working order at all times is paramount.

The official requirements for fire extinguisher maintenance differ worldwide, so it’s best to check with local authorities so that you’re acting in accordance with local law and best practice. There are, however, regular maintenance procedures you should put in place.

  1. Ensure your fire extinguisher is free of any obstructions such as boxes, clothing or equipment. Every second counts in an emergency, so it needs to be easily accessible.
  2. Check that the pressure is at the recommended level for your specific brand & model. Many models now come with a gauge, with the needle sitting in the green zone when the pressure is at the correct level.
  3. The nozzle, handle and other moving parts should be functioning correctly and not hindered by any debri or foreign objects. The locking pin must be intact, and the tamper seal should be unbroken.
  4. Your fire extinguisher should be free from any dents, rust, leaks or chemical deposits, as well as any signs of wear and tear or corrosive chemicals.
  5. Manufacturers recommend you shake your dry chemical fire extinguishers once a month. This ensures the powder inside doesn’t pack down or settle.
  6. Fire extinguishers should have their pressure tested every couple of years to ensure their cylinders are in working order.
  7. If your fire extinguisher has been used, it should be recharged and replaced immediately.
  8. Depending on where your fire extinguisher is intended to be used, most require an annual professional inspection. Check with your local fire authorities as to when and if your fire extinguisher is required to undergo these inspections.


Where Should I Keep My Fire Extinguisher?

At Home:

Fire extinguishers in the home should be concentrated around the areas most prone to fires, including kitchens and areas with gas, wood or electric heaters, and stored close to doors and/or exits. This means that if efforts to extinguish a fire are unsuccessful, there are viable escape routes still available. Fire extinguishers should also be stored far enough away from possible fire sources, to allow for continued ease of access.

In Your Garage:

Many people forget their garages when it comes to fire safety, even though they contain numerous flammable and explosive items. From gas tanks for the barbecue through to paint, petrol and oil. Not to mention motor vehicles and/or boats. Similar to your home, fire extinguishers in garages should be kept close to exits.

In Your Car:

Where you store your car’s fire extinguisher depends largely on what you’re using your car for. For everyday use, these can be stored securely in the boot.

If you’re interested in using these cars for motorsports or related activities, rules and regulations on the types of fire extinguishers - and their placement - varies greatly. This is discussed in further detail below.

On Your Boat:

Boats should have their fire extinguishers mounted in a protected area where they can be reached from the open deck. Storing them below deck or in hard to reach places is not recommended, as a fire could easily block access to these areas.

In Your Caravan:

Caravans should have their fire extinguishers mounted on the inside of their door, making for easy, quick access in the event of a fire, and allowing for an easy retreat should the fire get out of hand.


How Should I Store My Fire Extinguisher?

Fire extinguishers vary in size and weight, and this should be taken into account when deciding on where - and how - they’re stored. Extinguishers should be placed far enough away from fire hazards to ensure easy access in the event of a fire, as well as high up enough to keep them out of reach of small children and prying fingers. They should also be kept free from any clutter, furniture or other items that may block easy access.

A mount or bracket is also recommended for storing your fire extinguisher, with many varieties available. It’s important to check the weight requirements of both your fire extinguisher and its location first before mounting it to a wall or the inside of a vehicle.

If mounting your fire extinguisher to a wall, you should check that it’s able to support its weight. Checking for studs to secure your bracket to can be done with a stud checker or similar tool carried by most hardware stores.


What Are The Fire Extinguisher Requirements For Motorsports?

When it comes to fire safety and motorsports, fire extinguisher and mounting requirements differ greatly from region to region. It’s always best to check with your local governing body, and race organisers, before an event to ensure your car meets safety requirements.

Since 2013, Motorsport New Zealand require that hand-held extinguishers be mounted with metal retaining systems, with a minimum of two quick release metal straps. The mount itself? This needs to be secured to the structure of the vehicle by a minimum of two self-locking ISO 8.8 M6 bolts with panel washers. They also need to be within easy reach of occupants in their normal seating positions. Many racers recommend storing them on the passenger side of the gearbox tunnel, or in the footwell of the passenger or driver’s side. See more about their fire extinguisher requirements here

Meanwhile CAMS (Confederation Of Australian Motor Sport) requires that fire extinguishers be restrained and removable by drivers (or occupants where applicable) without the aid of tools. See more about their requirements here

Speed and drifting events require one or more extinguishers, at a minimum of 900G. Off Road events are the same, though these require 1.8KG extinguishers. While road events, depending on standards, requires one or two 2.0KG or 2.4L @ 12.0 bar extinguishers.

Race events, on the other hand, don’t require extinguishers unless otherwise stated by race organisers. Though those that meet speed event requirements are highly recommended. And as always, it’s best to seek the advice of local governing bodies and event organisers for up-to-date, event-specific requirements, with more information available on the websites of your respective governing body websites.

Further information can be found at the Fire Protection Association of New Zealand website. PSL are proud to be a member of this organisation.

See our full range of fire extinguishers on our website.