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Why is fire extinguisher maintenance important?

16 Aug, 2016
Why is fire extinguisher maintenance important?

Maintenance of fire extinguishers is essential. Not only is it effectively an NFPA legal requirement but as extinguishers play such a crucial part in putting fires out before they get out of hand, it is vital that they work if and when they are needed. With proper servicing and maintenance carried out on a regular basis, fire extinguishers should last for up to 12 years before they need replacing.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD FIRE EXTINGUISHERS BE SERVICED?

Fire extinguishers should be maintained:

  • When delivered (commissioning service)
  • Monthly (on site by designated person)
  • Annually (by a professional)

COMMISSIONING SERVICE

This is an initial installation, examination and service of the fire extinguisher to check for any signs of damage. It’s important that this takes place after delivery, in case of any damage caused in transit. Upon completion the fire extinguisher will be tagged with all required NFPA information.

MONTHLY FIRE EXTINGUISHER MAINTENANCE

It is highly recommended to carry out regular fire extinguisher inspections on a monthly basis. This checks the extinguisher is working as it should between annual services. These assessments can be undertaken by a designated member of staff, no special training is needed. Records should be kept of each inspection in a special log book.

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN CARRYING OUT A MONTHLY FIRE EXTINGUISHER MAINTENANCE CHECK:

  • The extinguisher has no visible signs of damage, wear and tear.
  • It is installed in the correct place it was intended and easily visible if needed.
  • The needle of the extinguisher’s pressure gauge is in the green zone. (This means it is working fine).
  • Anti-tamper seals are present and have not been broken.
  • Appropriate labelling and operating instructions are on the extinguisher.

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF A FIRE EXTINGUISHER NEEDS SERVICING OR REPLACING?

  • If you discover any of the following during your fire extinguisher inspection you should consult a professional who will need to service and repair or replace the faulty extinguisher:
  • The extinguisher is damaged, i.e. hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped or blocked.
  • If the handle is wobbly or broken.
  • The pressure gauge needle is outside of the green zone. (This means the extinguisher will need servicing immediately).
  • Locking pin is missing or anti-tamper seal is broken.
  • Appropriate labelling and operating instructions are missing.

All fire extinguishers should be labelled with details of their last inspection; if this is not present you should have the extinguisher checked over by a professional.