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Why is Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Important?

Maintenance of fire extinguishers is essential. Not only is it effectively a legal requirement but as extinguishers play such a crucial part in putting fires out before they get out of hand, it’s vital that they work if and when they’re needed.

The British Standards – which provide guidelines for fire safety – state that annual maintenance of fire protection equipment, including fire extinguishers must be carried out by a competent person, i.e. one that has the relevant BAFE certification. (See BS 5306 part 3)

With proper servicing and maintenance carried out on a regular basis, fire extinguishers should last for up between 5-15 years before they need replacing.

How often should fire extinguishers be serviced?

maintenance plans for fire extinguishersFire extinguishers should be maintained:

  • When delivered (commissioning service)
  • Monthly (on site by designated person)
  • Annually (by a professional)

Commissioning service

This is an initial examination and service of the extinguisher to check for any signs of damage. It’s important that this takes place after delivery, in case of any damage caused in transit.

Monthly fire extinguisher maintenance

It’s highly recommended to carry out regular fire extinguisher inspections on a monthly basis. This checks the extinguisher is working as it should between annual services. These assessments can be undertaken by a designated member of staff, no special training is needed. Records should be kept of each inspection in a special log book.

Things to look out for when carrying out a monthly fire extinguisher maintenance check:

  • The extinguisher has no visible signs of damage, wear and tear.
  • It is installed in the correct place it was intended and easily visible if needed.
  • The needle of the extinguisher’s pressure gauge is in the green zone. (This means it is working fine).
  • Anti-tamper seals are present and have not been broken.
  • Appropriate labelling and operating instructions are on the extinguisher.

How can you tell if a fire extinguisher needs servicing or replacing?

If you discover any of the following during your fire extinguisher inspection you should consult a professional who will need to service and repair or replace the faulty extinguisher:

  • The extinguisher is damaged, e.g. hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped or blocked.
  • If the handle is wobbly or broken.
  • The pressure gauge needle is outside of the green zone. (This means the extinguisher will need servicing immediately).
  • Locking pin is missing or anti-tamper seal is broken.
  • Appropriate labelling and operating instructions are missing.

All fire extinguishers should be labelled with details of their last inspection; if this is not present you should have the extinguisher checked over by a professional.

Annual fire extinguisher maintenance

The most detailed and thorough examination of your fire extinguisher will take place during its annual servicing. As mentioned, in accordance with BS 5306 part 3, this will need to be carried out by a qualified and BAFE certified professional.

Within annual servicing the extinguisher may be due an extended service during which it will be emptied; the inside will be inspected before it is then refilled. A discharge test would also be conducted to ensure the extinguisher discharges correctly.

After the service, the label must be updated with the date maintenance took place, the weight of the extinguisher, the engineer who carried out the service, when the next discharge test is due and any other additional comments raised during the examination.

Fire extinguisher maintenance plans

Peace of mind is important, particularly when dealing with the threat of fire. Proper maintenance of all extinguishers on your premises is essential. Fire protection companies offer fire extinguisher maintenance plans, which are the most sensible and cost effective option if you have multiple fire extinguishers on site.

At Euro Fire Protection, our technicians are BAFE certified and can take care of all your fire extinguisher maintenance requirements with our servicing plans. Give our team a call to find out more about how we can help protect your business.

For more information

Euro Fire Protection are certified by BAFE. Find out about our complete fire extinguisher maintenance plans. Call us today on 08000 515 199.

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