In a fire emergency, a fire extinguisher plays the role of the first line of defense. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain the fire extinguishers at your house or workplace. Fires can happen anytime and anywhere, and having a functioning fire extinguisher can be the difference between a major and a minor accident. And while having extinguishers at your place comes with the cost of checking, servicing, and regular inspection to keep the thing ready for action when needed. In this blog post, we will explore how often fire extinguishers need to be checked, serviced, and inspected to keep them in good working order.
Fire extinguishers are a crucial tool for maintaining fire safety in the workplace. They can be found in homes, offices, schools, and public spaces, basically anywhere where there is a chance of a fire being started.
There are different types of fire extinguishers used for various purposes. You could also have one or two other classes at your workplace. A fire extinguisher type at an office would be different than one at a restaurant kitchen. No matter which fires extinguisher you use, they usually follow a similar pattern:
- 5-10 years
Well, regularly checking your fire extinguisher does make sense because it is important that you make sure that it works properly when needed. Emergencies are uncalled for, and thus, it is important that you remain prepared for them.
Before I move any further in this blog, it is important to be aware of certain responsibilities that come with handling fire extinguishers. Look, using some tool or safety equipment without even having proper knowledge would always result in the deterioration of the object and would always limit the output. One example we could take is that a person who does not know how to properly use a fire extinguisher would mishandle it, making the extinguisher become faulty with minimal output. Therefore, it is always recommended to have appropriate fire extinguisher training, which will help individuals educate on how to handle extinguishers correctly and make the most out of them. It is the responsibility of an employer to provide fire extinguisher training to their staff; doing so would allow the employees nearby the fire area to get the better of the fire and extinguish it before the situation escalates.
· Monthly inspection
Monthly inspections can usually be conducted by any member of the house or workplace, but it is important to have appropriate knowledge regarding how to do so. While inspecting the fire extinguisher, you should make sure that:
- Fire extinguishers are located in the right place and are accessible
- Fire extinguishers are not obstructed or blocked
- Fire extinguishers have not been previously used
- The pressure of the fire extinguisher is correct
- The fire extinguisher is not damaged or faulted
Moving objects around the workplace or house is a common activity. But during the process, one might not be aware that they have placed the object in a way that is restricting the fire extinguisher or might think that it is still accessible. This is a serious problem; in the event of a fire emergency, people don’t have time to look around for a fire extinguisher. Therefore, it is important that the extinguisher is always visible and accessible. By having monthly inspections, you can make sure that they are placed in the correct position and are accessible.
You can also visually check whether the extinguisher has been damaged. Looking for signs like a seal and pin on the extinguisher, which would indicate that it has not been used before. In some cases, you might have to perform inspections more frequently. Such as at a construction site or areas like warehouses, which are at a higher risk of fire events.
It is important that you take control measures when you see the slightest problem with the extinguisher, such as defective or leaking.
· Annual maintenance
Most extinguishers require annual servicing, but it has to be done by a competent engineer. This is a much more detailed inspection than a monthly one. Annual maintenance checks include:
- Safety checks on pin
- Refit or replace the pin as required
- Checking the head cap
- Checking signs for corrosion of extinguisher
- Checking emitting hose
- Checking the labelling
- Weight and pressure check
- Verify that the pressure gauge is working
- Replacing the components as needed
- Replacement of cartridges and charges as needed
- Wipe down
- Wall mount check
- New tamper seal
- Sign check
- Completion of service label
The maintenance check might vary based on the type of extinguisher. Annual service is required for most of the fire extinguishers. It is as important to keep track of the service and maintenance of the extinguishers.
· 5-10 year servicing
Fire extinguishers don’t last forever, even with annual maintenance. The components of the extinguisher age over time, lowering the effectiveness of the fire extinguisher. Over 5-10 years, depending on the extinguisher type and usage, an extinguisher might need a complete overhaul or refill and replacement. Here are the following types of extinguishers that might require a discharge or refill to be carried out every five years:
Every ten years:
- Carbon dioxide
To keep the extinguisher fully operational, they are required to be refilled or replaced every 5 or 10 years. Although, in some cases, this might occur sooner due to corrosion etc.
Fire extinguisher inspection
Carrying out a fire extinguisher inspection is an integral part of maintaining safety at your workplace or house. Every extinguisher once in a while would require inspection and maintenance, and it is your responsibility as an employer or house elder to do so. Even though some extinguishers can only be inspected and maintained by professionals such as engineers such as for annual time periods, a normal person can be competent enough to inspect and maintain those monthly. To do so, it is important that you are aware of all the steps and processes to carry out an effective inspection. As all things demand attention and maintenance, you must be aware of the steps and processes to do so before starting the inspection process. By taking on appropriate fire inspection training, you could train yourself or your employees on how to carry out fire extinguisher inspections.
In conclusion, maintaining fire extinguishers is essential for ensuring their effectiveness in an emergency. Monthly visual inspections and annual maintenance inspections, along with regular servicing and hydrostatic testing, are necessary to keep fire extinguishers in good working order. By learning from the information provided, you can ensure that your fire extinguishers are always ready to be used if the need arises. So, don’t wait any longer; schedule your next inspection or service to ensure your fire extinguishers are always ready for action! Remember, fire safety is everyone’s responsibility, and taking care of your fire extinguishers is crucial to keeping your home or workplace safe.