Your extinguisher has been sitting faithfully in the corner, ready to pounce into action should you ever need to use it. But do you know how old it is?
It’s important to know this. Not so you can celebrate its birthday with a party and balloons, but to help you ensure that it is ready should you ever need it.
Extinguishers need servicing every year, and most require an extended service every 5 years. This will ensure that the unit is still in good condition and that the contents are fresh.
It’s no different from getting the MOT completed on your car every year.
So by knowing how old it is, you can give it the attention it needs.
How Do I Find The Age Of An Extinguisher?
Because you need to know, all fire extinguishers have a date or year of manufacture on them.
You can find these stamped or printed on the cylinder body or printed on the extinguisher label itself.
Even if it isn’t obvious, it is on there. For example, you may find it hidden on the neck of the extinguisher.
It’s also essential to know when commissioning took place for the extinguisher. To know that, you need only check the maintenance label on the extinguisher. That is also where you will find the date when it was last serviced.
Why Do I Need To Know These Dates?
If you haven’t been keeping track, your powder, foam and water extinguisher might be due for an extended service. These need completing five years from the initial commissioning, or six years after manufacture. This depends on which comes first.
In an extended service, the extinguisher gets discharged and refilled. This is to ensure it is in prime working order and has contents you can depend on to work.
With a CO2 fire extinguisher, it needs refurbishing ten years after the cylinder manufacturer. This is to ensure that it is still capable of holding the high-pressure gas safely.
But in order to get your fire extinguishers to these milestones, you need to look after them in between.
How Can I Give My Extinguishers A Long, Healthy Life?
Every week, someone should visually assess the condition of each extinguisher. This is just to check for any obvious signs of damage, corrosion or tampering, and that the pressure gauge is in the green. It also ensures that it remains in the correct location.
Every year, you should also get them serviced by a professional engineer. They will check the condition of the extinguisher and replace any components which need it. This is the best way of being certain of their condition and ensuring they last as long as possible.
However, when it does come to the extended service, you may find it is more cost-effective to replace the extinguisher. If that is something you do, then make sure to take note of its date of manufacture and commissioning.
That way, you can keep on top of its condition, and maybe even celebrate its birthday.