Are you wondering whether it's time to have a fire extinguisher recharge service? Fire is rarely a planned event, so taming it requires a rapid and accurate reaction from you to prevent a disaster. Fire extinguishers are actually the first line of defense during these unfortunate events.
A fire extinguisher is a powerful tool, yet its effectiveness depends on how you maintain it. Taking your fire extinguisher for granted is easy, but many people must realize the cylinders require maintenance. Handling and ill-timed service checkups can drastically compromise the firefighting abilities of a fire extinguisher. Additionally, if your firefighting tool expires, it can even become dangerous in your vicinity.
In far too many instances, extinguishers cannot extinguish a fire because they are not fully charged—even if they have never been used before. To prevent this scenario, every business owner should know more about a fire extinguisher recharge service. Here's everything you need to know.
Keeping commercial fire extinguishers throughout your building is a critical fire protection product. These fire prevention methods should always be part of your fire safety plan. In addition, most fire inspections have regulations regarding commercial fire extinguishers. So, you need these items to pass your fire inspection. Most importantly, these fire extinguishers will protect your building and its people in the event of a fire.
There are five different classes of fire extinguishers. A, B, C, K, and D fire extinguishers are classified according to the types of fire they are geared to fight. The firefighting properties of fire extinguishers come from their fire extinguishing agent. Depending on the nature of these agents, there are different requirements for a fire extinguisher recharge service.
National Fire Prevention Agency has standards for fire extinguishers that advise performing checkups of every firefighting tool at least once a year, no matter which class it belongs to or which firefighting agent it uses. One of the steps during this checkup is weighing your fire extinguisher to compare whether its mass is different from the manufacturer's standards. The weight may change even if you have never used it.
If it weighs any different from the standard established by the manufacturer, you should take one of the two courses of action. In the first case, it might be time to recharge your fire extinguisher since its mass has probably changed, and there is little agent inside the container. Second, there might be a faulty part in your fire extinguisher, and it might need servicing. Even though fire extinguishers are designed to withstand long years of service, some parts might lose their functionality entirety with time.
Most fire extinguishers contain chemical agents that don't require frequent checkups. The ability of such agents to last allows fire extinguishers to keep their functionality for 3, 5, or even 12 years without any maintenance or repair. However, when the time comes, it's essential to recharge them since some chemical components might fall into decay and, therefore, lose their firefighting efficiency. NFPA recommends recharging portable fire extinguishers that use dry chemicals every 6 or 12 years.
If your fire extinguisher served its purpose and saved your money, property, or health, it is time to pay it back and recharge it. Shortly after the use, you should call a specialist to make sure that your extinguisher will be ready for action again. Even if there is still some extinguishing agent left inside the container, you should consider having a fire extinguisher recharge service as soon as possible.
You never know how big will the next ignition be and how many agents you could need; therefore, it's critical to make sure that your fire extinguisher will be ready to show its maximum performance. Even if you used the extinguisher by accident and dispensed a small amount of its agent, the tool requires a checkup. Any dispensing action could result in dropping pressure levels, which inevitably leads to limiting the firefighting properties of your fire extinguisher.
You might think, "Well, it doesn't need to be done every year, so I can get by without it, right?" Well, no – in fact, an annual fire extinguisher recharge service is the safest and most guaranteed way to ensure your extinguishers work in an emergency.
With that in mind, let us look at some good reasons to perform this annual maintenance on an extinguisher.
The first and most obvious reason is to ensure the extinguisher has enough pressure.
With proper pressure in the canister, the extinguisher's range may be high enough to reach flames, especially in places with high ceilings or tall furniture. This is especially important if someone discharged the extinguisher recently.
A yearly fire extinguisher recharge service will ensure enough contents in the extinguisher to put out any blaze.
Without these checks, someone could press down on the handle, and nothing could come out, leading to an even larger emergency.
Alongside refill and pressure checks, you should recharge your fire extinguisher to inspect it, inside and out, regularly.
While damage on the exterior might be obvious (like dents or holes), damage to the interior can weaken the extinguisher's overall integrity. However, you can't always see the damage inside, so an in-depth inspection is a great preventive measure.
Like your car or shoes, an extinguisher should also be checked for wear and tear in an annual fire extinguisher recharge service. This means looking over any necessary safety labeling and checking for blocked hoses or leaks.
Corrosion can also occur over time, weakening the structural solidity of the extinguisher and creating a potentially life-threatening situation in an emergency.
Finally, you can save substantial money on replacements when you recharge your fire extinguisher yearly. In addition to safety concerns, replacing extinguishers if they break can be expensive, especially without being used.
With yearly recharge and inspections, extinguishers can continue operating in top shape and perform their job when needed.
Every fire extinguisher has a lifespan. Depending on the materials used in production and extinguishing agents, these terms can vary from 5 to 12 or even longer. The expiration date of a firefighting tool should be marked on the haul of a fire extinguisher or the servicing tag. Besides the expiration date, some red flags could signal that its time to consider replacing your fire extinguisher:
A service tag is a crucial part of a fire extinguisher. It's not just some requirement of a State Fire Marshal; it is also an ID and a diary of a fire extinguisher. It contains information about the extinguisher's condition, the latest time it underwent a maintenance check, and who was responsible for it. Besides, it might contain some information about small flaws in the extinguisher's build. With this information, a fire extinguisher can be used properly and safely.
Any physical damage to your fire extinguisher can lead to serious problems with its functionality. It can start losing pressure, the hose or nozzle can lose its functionality, and, as a result, the fire extinguisher could be useless in case of a fire. In addition, such flaws can turn a fire extinguisher into a hazard to your life and property.
Some of these flaws can be repaired or mended; however, this might cost you considerable money for a temporary solution. Therefore, we advise obtaining a new fire extinguisher to replace the damaged one to save you time, money, and, potentially, health.
Even though fire extinguishers tend to serve many years, you must keep an eye on their shape. Recharging or replacing your extinguisher in time is one of the essential fundamentals of proper fire safety. If you hesitate to refill your fire extinguisher or if it is time to dispose of it and purchase a new one, ask your local fire safety specialists for advice.
Sometimes, replacing the entire unit is less expensive than recharging, especially with small canisters. Look into your pricing options to determine what is best for your budget. While it might be cheaper to recharge fire extinguishers, you should also consider the safety of the business and the potential losses you could get if your fire extinguisher didn't work during a fire. It's better to be safe than sorry.
If your extinguisher has a dent-free or uncracked exterior, the hoses are intact, and the inspection tag is attached, a fire extinguisher recharge service might be the more economical choice. If the extinguisher needs replacing or recharging, it's best to replace it and have the security of knowing you have a new, working fire extinguisher. Give yourself peace of mind knowing it is in working order.
If you need to decide whether you have to replace fire extinguishers at your business or you need recharging, contact us at Texas Fire & Safety Equipment. We could inspect your used fire extinguishers and determine if you have to recharge fire extinguishers or full replacement.