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Fire equipment

What type of fire equipment should I have?

The best equipment is a fire extinguisher, a fire blanket and smoke detectors.

Fire extinguisher

The best equipment is a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket. A fire extinguisher should be placed so it is easy to access in an emergency. A well placed fire extinguisher is far more effective than pulling a garden hose around the house. We recommend a 6 kg powder extinguisher for a normal home, which can extinguish different types of fires. An approved fire extinguisher costs around 500 Swedish kronor. A carbon dioxide extinguisher (B-type extinguisher) is the best alternative for putting out fires in electrical equipment. Sometimes home insurance companies have special offers on fire equipment.

If you have a caravan, boat or country house – make sure that you have a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket there as well.

Powder and foam extinguishers are the best all-round extinguishers.

  • Powder extinguishers have the best capacity and put out all types of fires
  • Both powder and foam extinguishers are easy to use, even for inexperienced users
  • Powder extinguishers are relatively maintenance free
  • The powder is hard to decontaminate when improper use of the fire extinguisher 
  • The fire extinguisher should be certified by SBSC, DNV or another SWEDAC-accredited certification company
  • Foam extinguishers need to be reloaded regularly (see next section)

Where do you reload a fire extinguisher?

Ask the retailer where you purchased your fire extinguisher or contact a company that works with fire appliances. Look in the Yellow Pages under "Brandredskap" (Swedish for fire appliances) but do check the prices for reloading a fire extinguisher, it could be cheaper to buy a new one! One tip is to check with your home insurance company.

How old can a fire extinguisher get before I need to replace it?

A fire extinguisher (powder) can be 15-20 years old and still be fully functional, if it has been stored in a dry space. A pressure-charged fire extinguisher has a small pressure-meter that shows the current pressure. If the indicator is pointing to the green section, the extinguisher should be ok.

As soon as a fire extinguisher is used it needs to be reloaded. A powder extinguisher can be placed against the ear and turned upside down, if you hear a running sound, the fire extinguisher is ready to use. Turn the extinguisher upside down a few times a year so the powder does not settle or harden.

Where should I place my fire extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher should be placed centrally in an area that is easy to access.

You should consider displaying a small notice next to the fire extinguisher explaining how to use it: 

  • Pull out the safety pin
  • Loosen the hose and point it towards the fire
  • Place yourself as close to the fire as possible
  • Trigger the extinguisher by pressing down the handle
  • Remember to always have a low posture when extinguishing a fire
  • Move around the fire so you have a better chance of extinguishing the fire effectively.

Fire blanket

A fire blanket is a great addition to a fire extinguisher. It is particularly useful where the use of an extinguisher is not appropriate, for example where a person's clothes are on fire or while cooking (e.g. where hot oil has caught fire).

A fire blanket consists of one or two layers of glass cloth with a waterproof layer that both prevents dangerous gases from escaping while starving the fire of oxygen, thereby extinguishing it.

Where a fire blanket is intended for wrapping around a person on fire, the minimum size must be 120x180cm.

Smoke detectors

Smoke detectors are very cheap life insurance. A smoke detector is very sensitive to small particles in the smoke; it responds quickly to even the smallest fire and alerts you. This section contains information about smoke detectors and why it is so important to have one. Below you can also find information about where you can purchase a smoke detector and how to install it.

Why should I have a smoke detector?

Most domestic fires start during the night between 10 pm and 5 am. At this time you are probably asleep and having a fully functional smoke detector could save your life. When a fire breaks out it will rapidly increase in intensity. After a few minutes the fire reaches a point where it produces a high level of deadly toxic and combustible gases, lethal to anyone who breathes them in. A fully functional smoke detector alerts you in case of fire and you can quickly place yourself and others in safety.

The smoke detector is very sensitive to small particles in the smoke; it responds quickly to even the smallest fire and alerts you. Many of the lethal fires in Sweden could have been prevented if a fully functional smoke detector had been installed. The smoke detector is a cheap life insurance costing just under 100 Swedish kronor.

Where do I buy a smoke detector?

Smoke detectors are available in most supermarkets. Some companies specialize in fire prevention and, for example, sell fire extinguishers, fire blankets, smoke detectors and fire exit signs. These companies can be found in the Yellow Pages under "Brandredskap" (Swedish for fire appliances). Please note that the Greater Stockholm Fire Brigade does not sell any smoke detectors or other fire appliances.

All smoke detectors that are sold in Sweden are tested and approved by the Swedish Consumer Agency, but please make sure that the labeling is correct.

Where should I place the smoke detector?

The smoke detector should be placed in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines. Generally the following is applied:

  • The smoke detector should be placed as high up and as central as possible
  • If your house or apartment has several floors one smoke detector should be installed on each floor. One of the smoke detectors on the higher floors should be placed above the staircase
  • The smoke detector should be placed in the ceiling because the warm smoke rises. Make sure that there is at least 50 cm of free space around the smoke detector
  • If you cannot place the smoke detector in the ceiling then you could install it on the wall above your door, though it has to be placed 10 to 15 cm from the ceiling
  • Be aware that closed doors and sounds can make it hard to hear the smoke detector from all bedrooms. Therefore there should be several smoke detectors installed if you live in a large apartment or in a house.
  • Never place the smoke detector close to a vent
  • Do not install the smoke detector in the kitchen or bathroom, this could lead to false alarms

Example of how to place your smoke detectors in an apartment or a house


Check your smoke detector every 3 months or when you have been away from home a longer period. Vacuum the smoke detector once a year.
Do not forget to change the battery. Some batteries only lasts for a year and in older smoke detector the battery discharges more rapidly than in new smoke detectors. If you have a smoke detector with a built in battery you only need to check it every 3 months and replace the whole smoke detector when the battery has expired. Bear in mind that these types of smoke detectors have varying battery lives depending on manufacturer. The Greater Stockholm Fire Brigade recommends smoke detectors with a 10-year battery life.

Who is responsible for installing and maintenance the smoke detector?

The property owner of a domestic dwelling is responsible for installing at least one smoke detector in every household. Thereafter, the tenant is responsible for maintenance of the smoke detector.

If the property owner fails to provide smoke detectors, the Greater Stockholm Fire Brigade has the power to serve the property owner with an injunction together with a fine. If you live in an apartment that is a part of a housing cooperative, the cooperative's board is responsible for providing and installing smoke detectors. House owners are responsible for installing a smoke detector.

Different types of smoke detectors

The ionizing smoke detector analyses the number of particles in the air in an ionizing chamber while the optical smoke detector has an advanced photocell system that projects light. Both types of smoke detectors alert when particles are detected in the air. Traditionally the ionizing smoke detector was considered better at detecting invisible smoke and the optical smoke detector was considered better at detecting smoldering fires. Advances in technology mean that modern smoke detectors make the difference between the ionizing smoke detector and the optical smoke detector very small.

Smoke detectors that are manufactured today are easy to link together; if one smoke detector indicates smoke, all smoke detectors will alert you. The smoke detectors can be linked wirelessly or by cable.

There are special smoke detectors for the hearing impaired, where the smoke detector is linked to a light and/or vibration device.


Here you'll find a checklist for fire prevention in the home. The checklist is made by The Swedish Fire Protection Association and is available i nine different languages.

Checklist (external link)


Storstockholms brandförsvar
Skapat av: Erica Imeson
Publicerat av: Jonas Nyström
Senast uppdaterat: 2010-10-04