Using a portable fire extinguisher is the easiest way to put out small fires and plays an important role in life and property protection.
It’s important that everyone in your building knows where fire extinguishers are located and how to use them, but what’s even more important is that all fire extinguishers are in working order.
Business owners may not think it necessary to check these life-saving tools, but it’s essential to do so. Knowing when to replace a fire extinguisher can prevent mishaps associated with a faulty or broken extinguisher.
Signs that a fire extinguisher needs to be replaced
A simple visual inspection can be a quick and efficient way to notice signs of damage. A fire extinguisher should be replaced if:
• The fire extinguisher was accidentally discharged/ used to put out a fire
• Inspection sticker or hang tag is missing.
• The hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped, or blocked with debris
• The locking pin on the handle is missing or unsealed
• The handle is wobbly or broken
• Corrosion or rust is visible
• Leaking occurs
How often should fire extinguishers be professionally serviced and inspected?
Business owners are required to have all portable fire extinguishers professionally inspected at least once a year, but it is also the responsibility of the business owner to do a visual check of all fire extinguishers on a monthly basis.
The maintenance and replacement of a fire extinguisher depends on the type of extinguisher. Wet chemical fire extinguishers should be tested every 5 years. Dry chemical fire extinguishers should be hydrostatically tested every 12 years, with general maintenance conducted every 6 years.
If it’s been 10 years and you have a rechargeable fire extinguisher, it’s time to recharge! If it has been 12 years since you’ve purchased your disposable fire extinguisher, it needs to be replaced!
What to expect during an inspection
Annual maintenance requirements from NFPA 10 require an inspection of the physical condition of an extinguisher in addition to the seals/tamper indicators.
The goal of the physical inspection is to “detect obvious physical damage, corrosion or nozzle blockage.” The technician will also verify that the operating instructions are “present, legible, and facing forward.”
The technician will remove the tamper seal by operating the pull/pin locking device. If the extinguisher is non-rechargeable, the tamper indicator will not be removed. After maintenance, a new listed tamper seal will be installed.
Scheduling your fire extinguisher inspection
Nothing should be left up to chance when it comes to your safety and the integrity of your business and those around you. That’s why it’s important to stay up to date on all fire extinguishers in your building to make sure they are functioning properly or get them replaced if necessary.
Have an upcoming inspection due? Call Fire Systems Inc. at 770-333-7979 or visit our website to learn more.