Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

07/11/2018

Fire Extinguishers are a requirement in all commercial premises under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005, section 13, to protect people in the event of fire.

13.-(1) Where necessary (whether due to the features of the premises, the activity carried on there, any hazard present or any other relevant circumstances) in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that-

(a)the premises are, to the extent that it is appropriate, equipped with appropriate fire-fighting equipment and with fire detectors and alarms; and

(b)any non-automatic fire-fighting equipment so provided is easily accessible, simple to use and indicated by signs

Provision of fire extinguishers is only the first part of compliance, section 17 clearly states the need to provide a suitable system of maintenance.

17.-(1) Where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons the responsible person must ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises under this Order or, subject to paragraph (6), under any other enactment, including any enactment repealed or revoked by this Order, are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

Firstly, the responsible person should carry our monthly checks to ensure the fire extinguishers provided are in the correct place and are in working order. Any deficiencies should be rectified immediately they are identified and records of such checks should be kept.

Fire extinguishers need to be maintained annually, or more often in high risk areas, or where theft or vandalism are an issue. The annual maintenance of fire extinguishers must be carried out by competent persons, therefore the engagement with a service provider who has qualified Technicians is absolutely essential.

Fire extinguishers generally will not move very far between annual maintenance checks, but as with everything; they will deteriorate with age, this can lead to malfunction when the extinguisher is needed most, when there is a fire.

Fire extinguishers are often, incorrectly, used to hold doors open, suffer misuse or vandalism and this can lead to the extinguisher not operating properly, or at all when you need it most. Damage to safety pins, operating levers, diffuser assemblies, hoses, nozzles and even the main cylinder can have a catastrophic effect when you attempt to extinguish a small fire.

Cyclical discharge testing, commonly known as 'extended service', must be carried out as the contents of most extinguishers will deteriorate with time, making the content less effective as a fire fighting medium. This discharge test is essential also to inspect the interior of the pressure vessel, thus ensuring it is still safe to hold the pressure, which can range from 100 psi to 840 psi.

Fully trained and competent Technicians will also provide you with an ongoing assessment of risk within your premises and assist you in ensuring the protection provided is adequate for the risks.

If you would like our help with any matters associated with fire extinguishers or fire extinguisher maintenance, please contact us