A Guide to Fire Extinguisher Maintenance For Your Workplace
It’s not enough to simply have accessible fire extinguishers in your workplace, these extinguishers need to be regularly checked for faults.
To carry out monthly extinguisher inspections, you don’t need to be a certified extinguisher technician – either yourself or an employee could learn how to complete the maintenance required throughout the year. You will however require a BAFE-registered professional to carry out yearly extinguisher expectations and servicing. This is a legal requirement, and you’ll face penalties if you fail to comply with these fire safety provisions.
At MCFP, not only do we supply quality fire safety equipment, but we also provide servicing for this equipment, as well as equipment you may have purchased elsewhere. On top of this, as we strive to educate organisations and businesses as much as possible on fire safety, in this guide, we’ll detail all you need to know about maintaining your fire extinguishers.
Monthly Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
You need to organise monthly extinguisher inspections. As the business owner, it’s up to you to designate a ‘responsible person’ to learn how to visually inspect fire equipment.
But what kind of things should the ‘responsible person’ look out for? During this monthly inspection, it’s essential to check all your fire extinguishers for the following:
- Any sign of damage – Make sure that each extinguisher is still intact. Check for dents, corrosion and signs of tampering. You should also make sure that the extinguisher is not leaking. If the locking pins or seals are missing or damaged, you need to replace them. Check the nozzle for any sign of debris build-up and clean if necessary.
- Location – Make sure that your fire extinguishers are located where they should be. The extinguisher installers positioned them in a specific way for a reason. Fire safety equipment is laid out to increase visibility as well as accessibility. Refer to the designated layout and move extinguishers back to their original position if necessary.
- Position – The operating instructions should always be facing outwards. This means that the user can easily follow the instructions on how to use the extinguisher in the event of an emergency.
- Pressure dial – The pressure gauge has three colours – green, yellow, and red. When the dial is facing green, it means that there’s nothing wrong with the extinguisher pressure. If the dial is pointing towards yellow, it means that the pressure is too high. If it is red, it means that the pressure is too low. Always make sure the dial is pointing towards green.
- Weight: Your competent person needs to know how an extinguisher should feel when full. By knowing this, they’ll be able to lift extinguishers and judge the weight effectively. If it feels empty, it may need to be replaced.
The results of these visual inspections should be noted in a fire log book as well as on the maintenance label sticker. It’s important to note that this monthly service requirement differs from your other fire equipment. Fire alarms, for example, need to be tested weekly.
Yearly Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
By law, a professional that’s registered with BAFE needs to carry out an annual inspection of your extinguishers.
MCFP can provide this fire extinguisher maintenance service for you. Our technicians are dedicated to making sure your premises are as fire-safe as possible. Not only do we service fire extinguishers, but we also carry out full fire-safety audits. Plus, we’ve got the BAFE seal of approval.
This annual extinguisher servicing is much like the monthly inspection, except much more thorough. Our technicians carry out the following:
- Visually inspect the extinguishers for any sign of damage. Ensure that the pressure gauge and the tamper seal are in place and working correctly. Like the monthly checks, the professional will check that the extinguisher has the correct pressure range.
- Ensure that the discharge hose is not blocked or damaged. The ‘O’ ring on the discharge hose will also be replaced.
- Make sure that the portable fire extinguishers are positioned correctly. Also, ensure the instructions can be read clearly.
- Weigh the fire extinguishers and detail the findings on each extinguisher label.
- Inspect the wall mountings.
- Clean extinguishers if necessary.
Extended Fire Extinguisher Inspection
Extended extinguisher inspections should take place every 5-10 years, but this will differ depending on the type of fire extinguishers you have. For water, foam, and powder extinguishers, you’ll need to arrange an extended service every 5 years.
This 5-year extended service consists of the following:
- Valve overhaul
- A discharge test
- All the elements of the annual maintenance service
CO2 extinguishers, on the other hand, only require an extended service once every 10 years. These extinguishers need to be sent to an approved centre for testing. Here, the main valve in the extinguisher will be replaced. Specialist hydraulic testing will also be carried out. This is to make sure that the extinguisher can withstand its pressure rating.
Fire Extinguisher Inspection Checklist
To help you or your responsible person carry out the monthly fire safety inspection, we’ve put together this checklist of things that the person responsible must carry out. Overall, you need to make sure the extinguisher is safe, reliable, efficient, and fit for purpose. To make sure your fire extinguishers fulfil all 4 of these categories, check for the following every month:
- Are your extinguishers in their correct locations?
- Is each extinguisher unobstructed and visible?
- Can you read the operating instructions clearly, and are they facing outward?
- Is the pressure dial pointing to green?
- Is the tamper seal still intact?
- Are all the parts of the extinguisher still there and intact?
- Has the extinguisher been used recently? If so, is the discharge hose leaking?
- Is there any sign of damage? I.e., are there any dents, scratches, gouges, or other signs of damage to the body of the extinguisher? Additionally, you should check for any cracks around the horn or splits in the hose.
- Is the extinguisher underweight?
- Is the extinguisher in working order? I.e., debris build-up, blockages, leakages, corrosion, clogged nozzles and wands suggest that the extinguisher is not in working order.
If your assigned competent person notices anything wrong during this monthly inspection, please get in touch with us immediately. We have successfully provided fire safety services for long-term clients up and down the U.K.
Keep Your Workplace Free From Fires
Fire extinguisher servicing is essential in keeping your workspace free from fires. As detailed above, you need to select a competent person to give your extinguishers a basic service once a month. In addition to this, you need a professional to carry out an annual service. Lastly, you need to arrange an extended fire maintenance check once every 5-10 years.
If you have any questions regarding fire extinguisher maintenance, please do not hesitate to contact our team. We provide fire extinguisher maintenance services for both office and home security anywhere in Oxford, Bicester and Bristol, and will be happy to help with any query.