For many people a fire extinguisher is probably a bit like wallpaper, it’s there but you don’t really notice it. But if you suddenly needed to use it, it’s vital that it is in good working order.
The maintenance of fire extinguishers by a qualified professional is essential and it is the responsibility of a building’s ‘Responsible Person’ to ensure that checks are carried out monthly and to arrange for annual maintenance. With proper servicing and maintenance, fire extinguishers should last for between 5 and 15 years before they need replacing.
So, what exactly should you be checking? During monthly checks make sure that the fire extinguishers have no visible signs of damage or wear and tear, that they are sited where they should be and can be easily seen if needed. Also, ensure that the needle of the extinguisher’s pressure gauge is in the green zone and that the correct labelling and operating instructions are on the extinguisher.
You should also check that any anti-tamper/anti-theft seals (if you have them) are present and have not been broken. These are an effective way to stop vandalism, misuse or theft of fire extinguishers as when the extinguisher is removed from its normal position, an alarm will sound. You could also consider using extinguisher covers. These come in different sizes and are a low-cost way of protecting your extinguishers.
If you discover that an extinguisher is damaged in any way, for example the hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped or blocked, the handle is wobbly or broken, the pressure gauge needle is outside of the green zone, the locking pin is missing or anti-tamper/theft seal is broken or labelling or operating instructions are missing, ask a fire safety professional to service, repair or replace the extinguisher without delay.
You should keep a record of each inspection made in a fire safety logbook and all fire extinguishers should be labelled with details of their last inspection; if not, you should get the extinguisher checked by a professional.
Life is precious and property and assets matter, so at Fire Depot we make it our mission to provide quality, approved fire protection equipment and to share fire safety advice and fire equipment recommendations. Visit www.firedepot.co.uk for more fire safety product information or call us on 0330 999 2233 to speak to our friendly team of experts.