Having fire extinguishers means you’re well prepared should the worst ever happen, and ensuring fire extinguisher servicing is carried out will give them a long and reliable life.
Just like most things in life, if you keep fire extinguishers serviced, maintained, and in good condition, they’ll last a lot longer. And just like a car MOT, any potential issues are resolved before they actually become a problem, giving you peace of mind.
The British Standard for fire extinguishers recommends that every extinguisher receives a basic service annually, carried out by a service engineer. In fact, this is the case for all fire safety equipment.
Annual Fire Extinguisher Servicing
Carried out by a competent and trained professional, servicing will be carried out in accordance with British Standards 5306-3:2009. Firstly, they’ll check the tamper seal is present as it holds the safety pin in place which prevents accidental discharge, and gives a visual indication of whether the fire extinguisher has been used.
They’ll check the gauge is working correctly, and that the fire extinguisher is correctly pressurised. It is also part of the annual fire extinguisher service to check for any visual signs of damage or corrosion, and that the hose remains in good condition.
For businesses, organisations, public buildings and HMOs, it is a legal requirement to ensure all fire extinguishers are serviced every year. Failure to maintain any equipment you provide can result in hefty fines.
Extended Fire Extinguisher Servicing
After five years, all fire extinguishers need to have an extended service carried out by a fire extinguisher engineer. As well as carrying out all the same annual checks, they will also check the internal and operating conditions. The only exception to this is CO2 extinguishers which need their extended service every 10 years.
First carrying out a discharge test to make sure it empties fully, they can then look inside the canister and look for signs of internal corrosion. With everything okay, they will then refill and pressurise the extinguisher.
However, because of the extra work and materials required, an extended service is more expensive, and in some instances, it is worth looking at the price of purchasing brand new extinguishers.
Fire Extinguisher Checks You Can Carry Out
At least once a month, the responsible person or fire warden should be carrying out a visual check of every extinguisher, as you cannot afford for some issues to wait until they’re serviced. But don’t worry, it’s nothing complicated and shouldn’t take up much of your valuable time.
Firstly, ensure every fire extinguisher is in the correct location, with the right signage, and is not being used as a door stop. Make sure it’s not damaged or dented, that the pressure gauge is showing in the green, and that it hasn’t been used.
Your findings should then be recorded in a log book, with any concerns or issues raised and resolved as quickly as possible.