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Fire extinguisher inspection maintenance and testing procedures

We were discussing the 5 types of fire extinguishers and their use, how to operate the fire extinguishers with the help of our previous posts. Let us now see fire extinguisher inspection maintenance and testing procedures. 

A fire extinguisher is a portable device that is used to control or put out fires. It is typically a small metal cylinder that contains a pressurized agent that can be released to extinguish a fire. 

Inspection, Maintenance and testing of fire extinguisher 

Failing to maintain a fire extinguisher can have serious consequences in the event of a fire. If a fire extinguisher is not maintained properly, it may not work as intended when it is needed, which can lead to injuries, property damage, or even loss of life. 

Therefore, it is very important to prepare the maintenance schedule, maintenance planning and execution and record keeping of fire extinguishers. Lets see the following steps in order to maintain the health of a fire extinguisher. 

Inspection of fire extinguisher 

Inspect the fire extinguisher visually every month to make sure it is in good condition. Check the pressure gauge or indicator to make sure it is in the green zone, indicating that the extinguisher is fully charged. 

To inspect a fire extinguisher, need to follow the following steps: 

  1. Check the location: Make sure the fire extinguisher is located in a visible and accessible place, and is not blocked by any obstacles.

  2. Check the pressure gauge: The pressure gauge on the fire extinguisher should be in the green zone. If it's in the red zone, it needs to be recharged or replaced.

  3. Check the safety pin: The safety pin should be in place and the tamper seal should be intact.

  4. Check the hose and nozzle: The hose and nozzle should be free from any obstructions or damage.

  5. Check the overall condition: Look for any physical damage to the fire extinguisher, such as dents, cracks, or corrosion. If any damage is found, the fire extinguisher should be replaced.

  6. Check the expiration date: Every fire extinguisher has an expiration date. If the fire extinguisher is expired, it needs to be replaced.

  7. Record the inspection: Record the inspection date, inspector's name, and any maintenance performed. 

It is recommended to inspect the fire extinguishers once in a month. Additionally, fire extinguishers should be inspected after each use or if there is any suspicion of damage. 

Record keeping of fire extinguishers 

Record keeping of fire extinguishers is an important aspect of fire safety management. It is necessary to keep a record of each fire extinguisher's inspection and maintenance to ensure that it is in good working condition and ready to use in case of a fire emergency. Here are the steps to keep a record of fire extinguishers. 

  1. Create a log book: Create a log book to record all the inspection and maintenance activities of each fire extinguisher. The log book should include the date of inspection, inspector's name, location of the fire extinguisher, and any maintenance performed.

  2. Schedule regular inspections: Schedule regular inspections of fire extinguishers as per the local fire code requirements. Keep a record of each inspection in the log book.

  3. Record maintenance activities: Record any maintenance activities performed on the fire extinguisher, such as recharging, repair, or replacement. Include the date of maintenance and the reason for it.

  4. Record any usage: If a fire extinguisher is used during an emergency, record the date of usage, the type of fire extinguisher, and the reason for its use.

  5. Keep the record up-to-date: Keep the log book up-to-date by recording every inspection, maintenance activity, and usage. This will help to ensure that the fire extinguishers are in good working condition and ready to use in case of a fire emergency. 

Remember that keeping a record of fire extinguishers is not only important for compliance with local fire codes but also for the safety of the people and property in the building.  

Testing of fire extinguishers 

Hydrostatic testing: 

Hydrostatic testing is required for certain types of fire extinguishers, such as those with a metal cylinder. This test is done to check the cylinder's integrity and ensure that it can withstand the pressure of the fire extinguishing agent. Hydrostatic testing should be done every five or 12 years, depending on the type of fire extinguisher.  

Discharge testing: 

Discharge testing involves emptying the fire extinguisher and checking that it discharges properly. This test is typically performed during the hydrostatic test.  

Refill or Recharge of the fire extinguishers 

If the fire extinguisher has been used, even partially, it needs to be refilled or recharged. This should be done by a qualified professional. We can see steps to refill or recharge the fire extinguishers in another post i.e. How to refill or recharge a fire extinguisher. 

Replacement of fire extinguishers 

Fire extinguishers should be replaced or serviced based on manufacturer guidelines, which are typically found on the label or in the instruction manual that comes with the extinguisher. Additionally, local regulations or building codes may require regular inspections and maintenance of fire extinguishers.

In general, fire extinguishers should be visually inspected monthly to ensure that they are in good condition and have not been damaged or discharged. They should also be checked for proper pressure levels and tested periodically to ensure they are in good working order. 

Most fire extinguishers have a recommended service life of 5-15 years, depending on the type and manufacturer. Some extinguishers may need to be replaced more frequently if they are located in areas of high humidity, extreme temperatures, or corrosive environments. 

If you are unsure about the condition of a fire extinguisher or when it should be replaced, contact a licensed fire extinguisher service company for guidance. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to fire safety equipment. 

Cleaning of fire extinguishers 

Clean the outside of the fire extinguisher periodically to remove any dirt or grime that may accumulate. It is important to keep the outside of a fire extinguisher clean so that any potential users can quickly and easily identify it in an emergency situation. 

Here are the steps you can follow to clean the outside of a fire extinguisher. 

  1. Make sure the fire extinguisher is not pressurized or discharged. If it has been recently used, allow it to cool down completely before attempting to clean it.

  2. Wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from any residue or chemicals on the outside of the fire extinguisher.

  3. Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the exterior of the fire extinguisher. Avoid using abrasive materials or chemicals that could damage the label or the metal surface.

  4. If the fire extinguisher has a hose or nozzle, make sure to wipe it down thoroughly as well. If there is any residue or debris inside the hose or nozzle, use a brush or compressed air to remove it.

  5. After cleaning the fire extinguisher, allow it to dry completely before putting it back in its designated location.

Remember to check the manufacturer's guidelines for any specific instructions on cleaning and maintenance of your fire extinguisher.

Hence, It is important to have a qualified professional perform maintenance on your fire extinguishers. Also, it is important to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for maintenance and use of the fire extinguisher. 

What will be the impact of non maintaining the fire extinguisher ? 

Failing to maintain a fire extinguisher can have serious consequences in the event of a fire. If a fire extinguisher is not maintained properly, it may not work as intended when it is needed, which can lead to injuries, property damage, or even loss of life. 

Let us see some of the potential impacts of not maintaining a fire extinguisher 

  1. Malfunctioning: Fire extinguishers that are not properly maintained may not function properly when needed, and may fail to extinguish a fire. This can lead to the fire spreading and causing more damage.

  2. Reduced effectiveness: Over time, fire extinguishers can lose their effectiveness if they are not properly maintained. For example, the pressure in the canister may decrease or the extinguisher may become contaminated or leak out, which can reduce the extinguisher's ability to put out a fire.

  3. Legal liability: If a fire occurs and it is found that the fire extinguisher was not properly maintained, the owner of the property may be held liable for damages, injuries, or deaths that occur as a result. 

  4. Higher costs: If a fire extinguisher fails to work when needed, it may cause more damage than if it had been properly maintained. This can result in higher repair or replacement costs, and may also result in higher insurance premiums.

In short, maintaining fire extinguishers is crucial to ensuring their effectiveness when needed, and failure to do so can have serious consequences. It is important to have fire extinguishers inspected and maintained regularly by a qualified professional. 

Next Post - refilling procedure of fire extinguisher.

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