Fire Extinguisher Servicing, What you should know!
Choosing a provider!
When choosing a new service provider to manage the annual servicing of your fire extinguishers things can become very confusing. Therefore, it is vital that you understand the wide range of service plans on offer from each provider. You should challenge every fire protection business you talk to and ask them to explain in full what each service plan entails.
Budget control is also vital in today's climate so we would always advise that you ask businesses if they provide a detailed asset register to you annually. If asset registers are completed correctly, you should be able to see what equipment is coming up for testing or replacement the following year. This is a very handy tool, which most providers do not provide. The also provide you with the location of each piece of fire equipment which helps assist you with your weekly checks.
Am I legally responsible for fire extinguisher servicing?
In accordance with the current British Standard (5306:3-2017) your fire extinguishers should be service annually.
To comply with the standard, your service provider must replace a number of components at every service. These components are known as 'consumable spares' and these include tamper tags and O-rings. There may be other parts, which may also require replacing. This will depend on the level of wear and tear or damage. There are some parts, which are commonly known as 'major parts' which include discharge hoses and CO2 horns, Hose & Horns.
When do my fire extinguishers need testing or replacing?
Every five years your service provider should carry out a more detailed service, known as an 'Extended Service' for low-pressure extinguishers. The main element of this is a full discharge and internal examination of the extinguisher. This applies to water, AFFF (foam) and dry powder fire extinguishers. The exception to this are Primary sealed fire extinguishers which a period of 10 years before they require an extended service. We have broken down each type to explain in more detail below -
- Water Fire Extinguishers
Water fire extinguishers can be safely discharged on your premises providing they do not contain an additive. Any water extinguishers which have additives should be replaced as they cannot be discharged to any area where it will contaminate local water sources. We advise that these extinguishers are replaced with water sprays which can be discharge tested every five years.
- Dry Powder fire Extinguishers
Dry powder fire extinguishers are usually exchanged with a new or service exchange extinguisher. Powder extinguishers are not discharge tested on site anymore due to mess & contamination risk to the replacement powder.
- Foam (AFFF) Fire Extinguishers
Foam fire extinguishers must not be discharged where the foam may contaminate local water sources. You and your service provider can face considerable fines if these extinguishers are discharged to areas like car parks, hard standings, grass, waste land, streams, rainwater/storm drains or any outdoor site. The best way to deal with foam fire extinguishers which are five years old is to replace them with new models and if feasible replace them with water sprays.
- Co2 Fire Extinguishers
CO2 fire extinguishers must be pressure tested every ten years. Co2 extinguishers can be hydraulically tested in a facility but this is not cost effective so, as with dry powder and foam extinguishers, CO2 extinguishers are usually replaced with new models.
- Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers
Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers are usually replaced after five years of service as they cannot be discharged to any area where it will contaminate local water sources just like foam extinguishers. It is also more cost effective to replace the extinguishers due to the high cost of the wet chemical medium.
So what should I be looking for?
The above information shows that if your current service provider offers 'extended servicing' in their service plan, You will not be getting value for money as they cannot in most cases carry out extended servicing. Apart from water extinguishers, all other types of extinguishers are usually replaced with a new model when their extended service is due.
By using the information provided above look at your current service contract and ask yourself if you are on the correct contract and getting value for money. Due to the decline of fire extinguishers being discharged on site Kings Fire do not offer any contract that includes extended servicing in its pricing, as we are unable to undertake the extended service on many of your extinguishers.
What fire extinguisher service contracts does Kings Fire provide?
We have a choice of three fire extinguisher maintenance contracts available to ensure you are always legally compliant.
Our standard service is based upon an attendance charge plus a price per extinguisher and per fire blanket. With this service package, all the consumable spares, major spares are charged for in addition to the unit price. New equipment is charged extra as required.
Our Inclusive service is based upon an attendance charge plus a price per extinguisher. Consumable parts used are included in the cost per extinguisher. The only additional costs that you will incur are for major spares & refills (Unless we find vandalised equipment then we charge for all spares). New equipment is charged extra as required.
Fully Inclusive Service
The fully inclusive service is based upon an attendance charge plus a price per extinguisher (depending on type). This includes everything from parts, refills and replacement extinguishers. It doesn't include refills or replacements due to misuse, vandalism or theft.
Do not be drawn into a low price per extinguisher if consumable parts are NOT included. This is a common tactic by some suppliers which is unethical and in the long term, rarely saves you money!
Are you competent to service my fire extinguishers?
All of our portable fire extinguisher technicians are fully up-to-date with current codes of practice. This is due to everyone carrying out works for Kings Fire completing their exams and three-year refresher courses as set out in the British Standards. We always give you the most professional and honest advice.
It's our policy to be fully transparent with all our customers and we will never provide a service plan they don't need.
Do not be drawn into a low price per extinguisher if consumable parts are NOT included. This is a common tactic by some suppliers which is unethical and in the long term, rarely saves you money. However, we regularly save our customers money by reviewing their requirements and only advising them on works that need to be completed as per the current standards in place.
Blog by Darren King - Managing Director