You never know when a fire may break out, so it is vital that you follow some simple guidelines to ensure your fire extinguishers are properly maintained.
Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
An extinguisher which fails to operate is worse than useless, so If you happen to spot a fault with one of your fire extinguishers at work, you could potentially save lives (and livelihoods for that matter).
Of course, please remember that you should only tackle a small fire if it is safe to do so and you have been properly trained, “If in doubt, get out!” Please speak to a fire safety professional to clarify any queries you may have.
This article will give you an overview on how you can visually check an extinguisher and the protocol you must follow when you notice a problem. Fire Action are here to inform you on the laws of maintenance and the importance of a monthly assessment/check of your fire extinguishers.
What’s the law on fire extinguisher maintenance?
The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order stipulates that where fire extinguishers are required and provided, they must be suitably maintained by a competent person (someone with the appropriate training, tools and experience) at least once a year.
Many Insurers now insist on portable firefighting equipment being serviced by a BAFE (British Approvals for Fire Equipment) accredited company such as us. Most businesses/occupied premises must provide portable fire extinguishers, and statistics show that approximately 4 out of 5 fires are put out with extinguishers before help arrives.
As such, all servicing of fire extinguishers should adhere to the British Standard BS5306-3: 2009. This will ensure they are fully functional and importantly, safe to use.
A competent service technician will also make sure the building is equipped with the appropriate extinguishers relevant to the risks contained within, and offer advice and guidance as part of their service too.
How often should fire extinguishers be serviced?
On the day of delivery/installation, your fire extinguishers must be “commissioned” – this means they are assembled correctly and a number of checks are made to ensure they’re reliable from day one.
A maintenance label will be affixed to the extinguisher with relevant entries made on it such as:
- The date
- The full weight of the extinguisher
- The competent person’s identity
- The next service date
- The “extended service” date (this is the date that the fire extinguisher should be fully discharged to check that it functions exactly as intended).
Extinguishers should also be checked monthly by an on-site member of the team (or the site Competent Person).
Things to look out for when carrying out a monthly fire extinguisher maintenance check:
- Make sure the fire extinguisher is easily accessible to all building occupants and keep it in good sight (e.g. do not cover or block it).
- Check the pin is still firmly in place and see to it that the tamper seal/OK indicator is fully intact.
- Assess the extinguisher for obvious damage. For example: dents, corrosion, leakages, a damaged hose/horn/nozzle.
- See to it that the label on the extinguisher can be easily deciphered.
- Take a look at the service label and check the date it was last serviced by a competent technician – a fire extinguisher must have been checked within the past 13 months.
Neglecting to maintain your fire extinguishers puts the lives of those inside your property at risk, so if you do see signs of damage, corrosion, leakage, damaged hoses/horns/nozzles, broken tamper evident seals or missing safety pins, you should seek help from a competent engineer who can carry out the remedial works required.
Here at Fire Action, our friendly experts are always here to help you with fire safety and advise you on your fire extinguisher maintenance. Simply get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.