Fire extinguishers are a legal requirement for all commercial and industrial buildings in Australia, and of course are highly recommended to have in areas of your house that are susceptible to fires. As you can imagine, fire extinguishers can save lives, but it’s extremely important that your fire extinguishers are maintained so they are in proper working condition. What’s the use in having fire extinguishers in your office or home if they don’t work? All this does is provide a false sense of security and in the event of a fire, faulty fire extinguishers can significantly increase the risk of property damage, personal injury, and even death. So here’s a guide on how to maintain your fire extinguishers so you can be rest assured that they will work if a fire does ignite in your surroundings.
Fire Extinguisher Safety Protocol
There are a series of protocols to ensure that fire extinguishers are well-maintained and are in proper working order. The following protocols should be performed once a month, or more frequently in high-risk areas:
- Ensure that all fire extinguishers are not obstructed by any furniture, equipment, desks, or any other objects that make fire extinguishers difficult to access in the event of a fire.
- Ensure that the most crucial parts of your fire extinguishers, mainly the handle and nozzle, are not hindered in any way.
- Ensure that all your fire extinguisher’s pressure is at the appropriate level. Nearly all fire extinguishers contain a pressure gauge and if the needle is within the green area, the pressure is fine and will work properly if needed.
- Ensure that the pins and tamper seals on all fire extinguishers are intact (if applicable).
- Check that your fire extinguishers display no signs of leaks, rust, chemical deposits or any other signs of wear and tear that may cause the fire extinguisher to malfunction.
- If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, shake them roughly once a month to ensure that the powder within does not settle at the bottom, rendering them ineffective in the event of a fire.
- Wipe down your fire extinguishers with a cloth or towel if you see any signs of oil, gunk, or other corrosive chemicals.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to use a fire extinguisher, always recharge your fire extinguisher immediately no matter how much content you use. Fires can ignite at any time so the old saying ‘better be safe than sorry’ is very applicable here.
In addition to this, fire extinguishers need to be pressure tested (or hydrostatic tested) after a couple of years to make sure that the extinguisher is still safe to use. You’ll need to refer to the extinguishers owner’s manual, the extinguisher’s label, or contact the manufacturer to check when such testing is needed.
Fire Extinguisher Service
If you have any doubts about whether your fire extinguisher is in proper working condition, or if you’re unsure of when your fire extinguisher was last replaced, you can either choose to have a basic inspection or full maintenance service.
Fire Extinguisher Inspection
If you’re not confident in performing the above fire extinguisher safety protocols, a qualified fire protection technician can do this for you. They’ll check that your fire extinguisher is accessible, pressure tested, fully charged and ready to be used at any moment. Always remember, the effectiveness of your fire extinguisher relies upon how often you perform these recommended protocols.
Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
It is highly recommended that you perform fire extinguisher maintenance at least once a year on all fire extinguishers. A qualified fire protection technician will perform a full maintenance of your fire extinguishers that involves a comprehensive check for whether any repairs, recharges, or replacements are required. In addition to this, the technician will also perform a hydrostatic test which is required every couple of years.
An ill-maintained fire extinguisher is extremely dangerous, so it’s imperative that all your fire extinguishers are checked on a monthly basis as outlined in the above, along with a full maintenance once a year. If you’re due for a fire extinguisher maintenance, or have any questions or concerns about any of your fire extinguishers, get in contact with the professionals at King Fire Protection Solutions on 1300 344 966, or visit their website for more information: https://www.kingfire.com.au