Fire extinguisher maintenance is essential when it comes to workplace fires. With any company, it is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that all of their fire extinguishers are serviced regularly by a fire safety company – such as Total Safe. This is to prevent the case of a fire in your building. When installing, the person carrying out the service will make sure that all fire extinguishers are in working order. Not only this but they’ll also ensure that each extinguisher is the correct type and is located in a suitable place, ready to be used.
When should a fire extinguisher be inspected?
Regular servicing should be followed up annually by a professional fire extinguisher engineer, and monthly checks should be carried out in case one is faulty or damaged. However, if there is an emergency and you think there is a problem with your fire extinguisher you should definitely get someone in to have a look at it.
Why it is important to carry out fire extinguisher maintenance?
There are many reasons why fire extinguishers need regular maintenance. Here is a list of the things that can happen to your extinguisher that you can look out for.
Fire extinguishers are made from aluminium or steel. This means over time, pressure from the gas can cause the metal to corrode and deteriorate due to stress. This damages the structure of the cylinder meaning the extinguisher will fail.
If your fire extinguisher is tampered with, it may be unfit to carry out its purpose. This could be due to people, especially children, who can get curious and damage the extinguisher, whether it’s unintentionally or on purpose. Tampering can conclude of things like loosening or tearing the hose, loosening the pin, removing the head cap seal, releasing the contents or removing the extinguisher from its designated point. If tampering continues, consider getting a cabinet or cover for your extinguisher.
The hose on your fire extinguisher can sometimes get blocked with insects or debris, and this results in the hose malfunctioning due to obstruction. Deterioration on the O-ring can also occur. The monthly fire extinguisher checks will conclude of the engineer removing the hose and examining it for any issues like this.
Over a period of time, general wear or tear will take place. This includes labels falling off or fading, dents or scratches in the cylinder, rusting or just getting dirty. General wear on your fire extinguisher might not be as small as you think. For example, if the label has fallen off or has faded, the important information on it will be gone and therefore unreadable. The danger of this is significant as you might not know what type of extinguisher it is, and if used on the wrong type of fire, it can be life-threatening. For example, if you use a water-filled extinguisher on an electrical fire, it can cause the fire to spread much faster and can also electrocute you. You should ensure that all labels are legible.
On each maintenance label on every fire extinguisher there is the weight written. This is the easiest way for the engineer to know if all the contents are in there or if some have leaked. During a monthly inspection, the engineer will weigh the extinguisher and compare it to its weight in the last inspection or what it says on the label. If the weight is not the same and has dropped from its original weight, this usually means there has been a leak. The engineer will then investigate what has caused it.