Fire Extinguisher Servicing – Advice on Servicing Fire Fighting Equipment

Fire Extinguisher Servicing – Advice on Servicing Fire Fighting Equipment

The law requires that the person responsible for any place of work must make sure that the premises are equipped with the correct type and quantity of fire fighting appliances and that systems are in place to ensure that these are maintained in good working order.

Buying the right amount of fire extinguishers and putting them up in appropriate places in your premises is essential, but your responsibilities do not end there. Any fire fighting appliance that has been moved, covered up, or which does not work properly, may as well not be there when a fire breaks out. You need to know that in the event of a fire you will be able to go straight to an extinguisher and it will work properly first time.

This does not put any particularly onerous tasks on the shoulders of business leaders, but it does mean that you need to have proper systems in place that will ensure your equipment is properly maintained. Fire extinguisher servicing is one aspect of the solution and regular in-house inspections is the other.

Fire extinguisher servicing should only be carried out by representatives of the manufacturer of the appliance or a properly trained engineer. There are many companies that specialise in fire extinguisher servicing and maintenance. The simplest solution is to set up a contract for regular inspection and servicing, so that you can rest assured that your appliances will be properly maintained and kept in good working order. The law requires that all appliances are serviced by a competent person at least once every year.

Only having anyone look at your extinguishers once a year, however, is not in itself enough to meet your obligations. In addition to the annual fire extinguisher servicing by a professional company, you have an obligation to ensure that the appliances are checked in a basic way much more regularly than that.

The exact frequency of checks will depend on the nature of your premises and business, but generally speaking most places should be looking at not less than once a month. Unlike proper fire extinguisher servicing, these monthly checks are fairly basic and can be done by a member of your own team.

Some of the things that you should be looking for when carrying out these inspections are as follows. Check that every extinguisher is where it is supposed to be, and has not been moved. If the extinguisher has a pressure gauge on it, check that the pointer shows that the pressure is what it is meant to be. This is usually indicated by the pointer being in an area coloured green. Any appliance that shows anything different should be swapped or checked by an engineer.

Every fire extinguisher has a pull pin in the handle, so check that this is firmly in place and has not been removed. Some extinguishers have tamper seals too, so similarly check that these have not been removed or interfered with. You can also check the whole appliance for general damage, in case it has been dropped or struck with other equipment. Any extinguishers with dents, cracks or areas of rust should be referred to an engineer for checking.

Using this combination of proper fire extinguisher servicing and regular monthly checks should ensure that your fire fighting equipment is always in good working order. It is sensible to keep a written record of when each inspection is made, so that you can provide proof of proper maintenance in case of inspection by the fire authorities, or any future incidents of fire.