Having fire extinguishers in your building is a vital part of fire safety, but it is not enough to just have them. Fire extinguishers need regular maintenance to ensure they are working efficiently and can be used effectively in a fire emergency. If you are the individual responsible for fire safety in your building, part of the facilities team or a member of the HR department it is important that you know what needs to be done to keep everyone safe.
Why is fire extinguisher servicing needed?
Not only are fire extinguishers often the first part of any fire safety plan it is also a legal requirement to keep them in good working order. Fire extinguishers are key to putting out fires before they get out of hand, so it is important they work properly in an emergency. Without regular maintenance and checks you will not know if they are fit for purpose. You do not want to encounter an emergency fire situation and find out that your fire extinguishers are not working!
Not only that but regular professional servicing can help fire extinguishers last longer so don’t have to be replaced as often. Fire extinguisher maintenance is important for everyone’s safety.
How often do fire extinguishers need to be serviced?
All fire extinguishers need a detailed service by a professional once a year. If you have multiple fire extinguishers on your premises a servicing plan may be the best way to keep up with maintenance to ensure you are meeting all your legal requirements.
On a monthly basis you should perform a visual check of your fire extinguishers. If you notice an extinguisher is damaged in any way such as the pressure gauge needle is not in the green zone, the anti-tamper seal is broken, or the testing label or instructions are missing, the extinguisher needs to be serviced immediately.
What is including in a fire extinguisher service?
Below is a breakdown of the two main types of servicing we provide:
Basic Service by a Qualified Engineer
Fire extinguisher servicing should be carried out once a year to the standard laid down under BS 5306-3:2009. The service procedure involves checking fire extinguishers thoroughly for corrosion and partial or complete discharge. We will always reference the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions for specific information on servicing and recharging. Any fire extinguishers that are deemed unfit for use will be brought to your attention and removed from service.
- Visually inspect the fire extinguisher for corrosion and damage.
- Check that the extinguisher has not been used by checking the Safety pin and tamper seal are in place and checking the pressure gauge reading (indicating needle should be in the green area. This is not applicable for CO2 fire extinguishers)
- Check that the operating instructions on the extinguisher are clear and legible.
- Remove the discharge hose and check for blockages and corrosion
- Once the discharge hose has been removed replace the ‘O’ ring.
- Weigh the extinguisher and record on the service label.
- If there is more than a 10% weight loss, investigate and recharge.
- Wipe down the extinguisher.
- Ensure that the wall mountings are secure and in good condition before replacing the appliance back on the wall.
Extended Service by a Qualified Engineer
Every five years water, foam, powder and wet chemical extinguishers require a more detailed examination including a test discharge of the extinguisher and subsequent recharging.
Here is an overview of the main activities involved:
1. Discharge the extinguisher
2. Unscrew the headcap in a safe manner and check all removable parts for any sign of corrosion and blockages
3. Examine the extinguisher body internally for any signs of corrosion
4. Rinse water-based extinguishers out with clean water
5. Replace all ‘O’ rings and hose rings
6. Refill the extinguisher
7. Refit the headcap
8. Re-pressurise the extinguisher
9. After a refill with generic chemicals (not the original chemicals used by the manufacturer), the extinguisher must receive a label with the new chemical specification.
The above only applies to pressurised extinguishers only. Gas cartridge extinguisher servicing has not been described here.
How can Equiptest help me?
We can complete a service on any brand or type of fire extinguisher. The service is carried out in accordance with BS:5306 and includes an internal and external inspection of your fire extinguishers. It covers general servicing of the appliances, greasing and making free all working parts and triggering mechanisms and checking there is no corrosion. The extinguisher will have a self-adhesive maintenance label affixed showing the date of inspection and next discharge date. We provide a certificate of inspection and conformity which gives details of the number and type of extinguisher on site, and the parts used in carrying out the service.
Contact Us now to book an appointment.