Preventing fires starts with having the right equipment in your workplace. Something that is often overlooked but is a mandatory task is keeping regular maintenance of the fire extinguishers in your workplace. People often check fire alarms but extinguishers can go unnoticed. There are simple steps that can be done at least once a year (if unused) to make sure your fire extinguisher is in good working condition.
As an employer, you must follow a detailed and particular list of criteria. This is to make sure your workplace is properly ready for any fire emergency. Each jurisdiction has a specific Fire Code, and extinguishers must be installed accordingly.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety provides a useful tip on maintaining a fire extinguisher:
“Keep written records showing maintenance items such as serial number and type of extinguishers, location, inspection date, description of tests, date of next inspection, date of annual servicing, comments and inspector’s signature.”
Fire extinguishers should be kept somewhere that is visible to employees and easy to access. It’s important to keep it at an appropriate height requirement so that it is accessible to anyone who needs to use it in an emergency.
If an extinguisher, or any safety tool, is moved in the workplace, staff must be notified. If you see an extinguisher that is in a new location, or if you don’t see it in its usual position, notify your supervisor.
Windsor Fire & Rescue Services list where to best keep a fire extinguisher:
“Keep extinguishers in a visible location, high on a wall out of the reach of children, near an exit and away from heat sources. If exposed to heat, the fire extinguisher’s contents may become less effective or cause the extinguisher to lose its charge more quickly. The best location in most situations is just inside a door or entrance, out of the reach of children.”
Fire extinguisher inspections should be performed monthly and perform a full inspection at least once a year. Inspect the hoses and nozzles to ensure they are in good condition. If you see any signs of rot, it may be time to replace your fire extinguisher.
Make sure to also inspect the locking pins and tamper seals to see if they are still in place. Check the pressure gauge to see if the needle is in the green zone. If the needle is not in the green zone, your fire extinguisher requires maintenance and you will need to replace it.
We highlight the safety of fire extinguisher maintenance:
“Functional fire extinguishers are required throughout the premises. It is the most important tool against fire; however, if it is not kept in good working condition it will not be useful in times of need.”
Fire extinguishers can be a vital tool to save lives and property damage from fire. Make sure you or someone in your workplace is properly trained and know your work’s fire safety plan.
If you’re unsure of how to perform monthly inspections or require certification, we offer inspection services for all your fire safety needs.