Fire extinguishers are one of the only means of suppressing small fires before the fire department can attend the scene and it is vitally important to maintain them year after year. But what does proper fire extinguisher maintenance look like? We’ll explain exactly what you need to do to happen to keep your fire extinguishers up to code.
The NFPA 10 is the current version of the code book developed by the National Fire Prevention Association
“NFPA 10 provides requirements to ensure that portable fire extinguishers will work as intended to provide a first line of defense against fires of limited size.”
This is a lengthy code book and can be intimidating for many business owners and managers. We provide fire safety services in accordance with the NFPA 10 and all amendments. The most basic regulations for fire extinguishers are:
“According to NFPA 10, fire extinguishers in commercial and industrial spaces must be inspected on a monthly basis. This inspection can be done internally by a designated staff member or by a certified fire extinguisher company, like Fire-Alert. On an annual basis, fire extinguishers must be inspected by a certified company.
ABC dry chemical fire extinguishers must be tested every 6 years. A recharge is performed at the 6 year mark followed by a hydrostatic test at the 12 year mark. Co2, Class K (kitchen) and water fire extinguishers must be hydrostatically tested every 5 years. Fire hoses are hydrostatically tested 5 years from the manufacture date and every 3 years thereafter.”
You can learn more about the regulations for fire extinguishers in Ontario in our recent blog post here.
What is a fire extinguisher inspection? An inspection looks at the fire extinguisher itself as well as it’s placement and other factors. An inspection can be done by yourself or an employee on a regular basis, but must be inspected by a certified company either every year or every six years depending on the type. Some tips for carrying out an inspection yourself:
Have a checklist handy with the date of each fire extinguisher inspection and follow each step until complete. Be sure to mark the date of inspection on the inspection tag of your fire extinguisher.
Your extinguisher should not be blocked by any equipment, coats or objects that may interfere with access in case of an emergency.
Always check to ensure that the pressure of the unit is at the recommended level by checking the gauge to confirm that the needle is in the green zone which will show that the pressure is right where it should be.
Make sure the nozzle or other parts of the extinguisher are not obstructed in any way.
If your portable fire extinguishers have a pin and tamper seal, check to see if they are intact and undamaged.
Check for dents, rust, leaks or any sign of abuse or wear. Take a damp rag and wipe off any gunk or chemicals that may have accumulated on the device.
Shake your extinguisher to prevent the powder from settling to the bottom.
What is a fire extinguisher recharge? To “recharge” your fire extinguisher means that it is being refilled and will work reliably in the event of a fire. A fire extinguisher that is older than six years and has not been recharged is at risk of not operating and being unable to suppress a fire.
If you are unsure if your fire extinguisher needs to be refilled, here are some helpful hints:
Check the pressure gauge, if it’s fallen below the functional level, it’s time to refill.
If your unit does not have a gauge, have it tested by a Fire-Alert Expert immediately.
Have your extinguisher checked annually.
Even if you have not used your extinguisher, it needs to be filled every six years.
If you do use it, refill it as soon as possible after use.
Now that you know the importance of fire extinguisher maintenance, check out how we can help with fire extinguisher inspections, recharges, and many other mobile services to keep you and your business safe. Fire-Alert experts are trained and certified and will reliably perform maintenance and recharge your fire extinguishers on-site.