Some people may not realize the significance of proper fire extinguisher maintenance service, but if you're like most people, you probably do not even think much about the fire extinguishers hanging on the wall of your workplace until you need them.
It would be the worst moment to learn that the fire extinguisher isn't operating correctly because it hasn't been properly maintained during an emergency. Fire extinguishers are needed in most commercial and public establishments, and most national and state fire regulations mandate that they be serviced annually. Fire extinguisher maintenance service is necessary for your safety, the protection of your staff, and the safety of those in your business.
To the inexperienced, a fire extinguisher may only look like a simple "red can" that hangs on the wall, but it is an effective fire defense - life safety equipment. To keep this fire prevention equipment in top condition, regular and periodic fire extinguisher maintenance service is essential, which will involve inspection, testing, and other maintenance to guarantee it operates when needed.
To maintain your fire extinguisher in good operating order, you must do the following forms of periodic maintenance: Annual maintenance, 6-year maintenance, and hydrostatic testing are all options.
Annual maintenance, as the name indicates, is provided once a year and includes (at a minimum) the following:
Every six years, 6 Year Maintenance is conducted (as the name implies). It consists of emptying the fire extinguisher cylinder, inspecting it inside for corrosion or other internal faults, and rebuilding the fire extinguisher valve assembly.
When this fire extinguisher maintenance service is conducted, the cylinder valve is removed, and a Verification of Service collar is put around the extinguisher's neck to ensure that the cylinder is properly disassembled.
In addition to the minimum 6-year maintenance, the fire extinguisher cylinder must be pressure tested every 12 years to guarantee that there is no concealed corrosion or flaws in the material.
As with the 6-year maintenance, the cylinder must be entirely emptied and visually inspected before being filled with water and pressured to the appropriate test pressure. Under this pressure, the cylinder is enclosed in a cage or shield to protect the person doing the test in the event of a rupture.
If the cylinder passes the test, it may be dried, refilled, the valve restored, and the fire extinguisher reassembled and reinstalled.
Other kinds of fire extinguishers may have different fire extinguisher maintenance service schedules, but the work done is comparable, and the results are the same.
In general, you should examine your fire extinguishers manually once a month. These monthly checkups don't have to be elaborate—ensure that the extinguisher is in excellent working order and that the gauge shows that the canister is appropriately pressurized for optimal operation.
However, there are certain more essential checks you should do that will need the aid of a professional, such as comprehensive fire extinguisher maintenance service once a year and expert interior inspections every six years.
Customers sometimes ask whether they may use the same fire extinguisher they've had for ages or if they need to replace it. This truly relies on several factors—in some cases, replacing the extinguisher makes more sense than having it maintained, particularly if you suddenly need to have your extinguisher serviced more than once a year by a professional team like us at Texas Fire & Safety Equipment.
Here are a few guidelines to assist you in assessing whether your fire extinguisher is still working and ready to be used in any future emergency scenario:
The production date of all fire extinguishers intended for commercial usage will be written or stamped somewhere on the canister or label. Keep an eye out for that date. Some extinguishers will need refurbishment after five or six years. Suppose the extinguisher is older than that, and you don't know when it was last evaluated. In that case, you must contact an expert as soon as possible to complete a fire extinguisher maintenance service.
As previously said, it is a good idea to undertake a monthly fire extinguisher maintenance service of your extinguishers and arrange for annual expert inspections. Your extinguisher should include a tag that specifies when the most recent inspection was completed. If you are in a business building, you should have a person in charge of building maintenance or safety. Keep track of fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance to ensure that you have that activity handled consistently.
The National Fire Protection Association requires fire extinguishers to undergo internal maintenance at certain periods to ensure they function properly in an emergency. Your carbon dioxide or wet chemical extinguisher should be hydro-tested every five years. Every 12 years, you should have your dry chemical extinguisher hydro-tested.
This should give you a fair idea of what type of fire extinguisher maintenance service you'll need on your fire extinguishers and when you'll need to do it.
While the main responsibility of a fire extinguisher specialist at your establishment is to service any portable fire extinguishers in compliance with NPFA 10, additional factors will be considered during an inspection. Consider how newly moved offices or equipment, new machinery, and changes in particular processes, among many other aspects, modify how your facility must be safeguarded. Your fire risk ratings may have changed since the previous inspection. And these are hazards that you may be unaware of until you choose a competent contractor.
A reputable fire extinguisher maintenance service contractor will ensure that all your fire extinguishers are operational and appropriately positioned. Before hiring any fire extinguisher maintenance service company, ensure its technicians are well-trained and credentialed and utilize NPFA 10 paperwork as a reference.
Because fire extinguisher specialists like us at Texas Fire & Safety Equipment are well-versed in all the federal and state requirements, we will also spot any problems with escape routes and appropriate warning signs on your site. We will notify you of any adjustments required to comply with government rules requiring clearly defined methods of escape in the case of a fire.
Building owners must have evidence showing fire extinguishers are properly maintained every year by a state-licensed fire equipment dealer and state-permitted fire extinguisher inspectors like us at Texas Fire & Safety Equipment, according to NPFA 10. Thus, your technician must fill out precise information on each fire extinguisher tag at your facility.