How Often Should Fire Extinguishers Be Serviced?
Fire extinguishers are an integral safety measure for any building. However, a lack of servicing can leave issues unnoticed and render them redundant in an emergency. It can be challenging to get your head around the different types of fire extinguisher inspections and understand how regularly they should be carried out. With this in mind, at LW Safety, we’ve created this guide to help ensure all your extinguishers are safe and compliant.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all non-domestic premises must have a designated responsible person, tasked with ensuring the building is fire safe. This can be a landlord, building manager or employer if the building is a workplace. This individual must perform a visual inspection of all fire extinguishers at least once every month.
This should include an examination of all external features, ensuring the seal is unbroken and the anti-tamper pins and pressure gauge remain in place. The responsible person should also survey the surrounding area, to ensure all instructions are legible and the fire extinguisher is fixed to the stand correctly. This inspection shouldn’t take long and is just to make certain that there are no visible flaws that may prevent discharge in the event of a fire.
An annual inspection of your fire extinguisher is mandatory under BS 5036-6 regulations and should be performed by an accredited technician. This will be more in-depth than a monthly inspection and the examiner will carry out several checks, including:
- A full visual inspection to check for visible signs of tampering or damage
- A pressure gauge reading
- An examination of the discharge hose to check for deterioration or blockages
- Weighing and cleaning the extinguisher
- Ensuring all cautionary signage is legible
- Making certain the extinguisher is fixed securely to the stand
- An update of the service label
If any damage is noticed, the technician can carry out the necessary repairs to guarantee the extinguisher is fully compliant with regulations.
An extended service should be performed every five or ten years depending on which type of extinguisher you have. Water, powder, foam and wet chemical extinguishers all require a service performed by a specialist once every five years. As well as carrying out all the usual annual checks, an extended service will also include a complete valve overhaul and servicing. The extinguisher will then be discharged, with the technician paying close attention to the pattern and distance of the extinguishant to ensure it is within specification. Following this, the interior lining is inspected and the extinguisher is re-filled and re-pressurised
Due to their high-pressure cylinders, CO2 extinguishers only require an extended service once every ten years; this makes them the preferred option for many businesses. During this inspection – often referred to as an overhaul – the CO2 extinguisher will be sent to an accredited centre for rigorous testing. The technician will replace the primary valve before carrying out a hydrostatic pressure test; this checks for cracks and stretches which may prevent your extinguisher from withstanding its pressure rating.
LW Safety are your local fire safety specialists, operating in homes and commercial premises across Wembley, Harrow, Uxbridge and beyond. We supply and install an extensive range of fire extinguishers and our BAFE-accredited technicians can undertake any maintenance or repair work.
To discuss your fire safety needs or book an installation, contact our friendly team today.