BS5306 stipulates that a fire extinguisher should be serviced once each year by a certified expert. It is also advised to make a point each week to examine that all extinguishers are located where they need to be and that there’s no evidence of damage to any of the units.
There are 2 primary types of fire extinguisher stored pressure fire extinguisher and cartridge operated fire extinguishers.
What does a fire extinguisher service involve?
Different manufacturers will have their own specific guidelines when it comes to maintenance. Generally, most fire extinguisher services usually include the following checks:
Aesthetic examination for rust or damage
Ensure it hasn’t been used (i.e. pin is missing from extinguisher).
The pressure gauge level reading is still within the green coloured area.
The operating instruction tag is undamaged and is visible.
Weigh the fire extinguisher and investigate if more than 10% weight loss.
Make certain the wall surface mountings are safe and secure and in a suitable condition.
There are additional checks required for cartridge type fire extinguishers, consisting of:
Inspecting the hose, checking for blockages and replacing the “O” ring.
Checking for powder settling or clumping (in a powder extinguisher) and replacing any type of powder as necessary.
For water-based extinguishers, the contents are generally poured out into a different container to make sure that the inside can be checked for rust or damage after that water changed.
Check the extinguisher head cap and ensure that the pertinent information remains clearly noticeable (includes maker information, chemical components, weight stats and British Standard information).
All extinguishers should be labelled on every service to show when the service was completed.
If you have a water, foam, powder or chemical extinguisher, after that every 5 years the fire extinguisher will require an extended servicing which includes:
Discharging the extinguisher
Checking of the fire extinguisher for rust and damages
Check removable parts for rust or damages and change as necessary
Rinse water-based fire extinguishers out with water
Refill & re-pressurise the extinguisher
When should you replace a fire extinguisher?
Extinguishers should be condemned if it is deemed unfit for use by the service technician. Rust, loss of contents, loss of pressure, change of legislation or any suspicion that it may not work properly will lead to the extinguisher being taken out of service. This would need to be replaced.
Extinguishers should also be replaced when the guarantee has run out. Most companies offer a 5 or 10 year guarantee.
Any BAFE accredited company will provide a detailed certificate outlining the service provided. If the business owner fails to take the advice of the service technician it is marked on the certificate following legislation. This may affect insurance.