Fire extinguishers are arguably one of the most important types of safety equipment you can own. When used quickly and correctly, they can help to prevent a fire from spreading, and thus drastically reduce the likelihood of injuries, fatalities and property damage occurring. If you own a commercial space, it is vital to ensure that all of the fire extinguishers on your premises are always in good working order. Here are two ways to do this:
Check for visible signs of damage or deterioration
When you're busy trying to run an enterprise, it's all too easy to ignore the condition of the fire extinguishers on your premises. However, it is crucial to check them for visible signs of damage or deterioration on a regular basis. Whilst these items are generally quite robust, they are not indestructible, and can develop problems if they are not handled with care. If any damage is not noticed until the fire extinguisher needs to be used in an emergency situation, the consequences could be dire.
Given this, it's a good idea to establish an inspection routine, during which you or a trusted employee closely examines all of the fire extinguishers in the building for indications of defects. Some things to watch out for are broken or loose handles, ripped or cracked nozzles and missing lock pins. Additionally, the person performing this check should also look for peeling or faded labels (the label provides instructions on how to use the fire extinguisher and should always be completely legible).
Should any issues become apparent during one of these inspections, the defective fire extinguisher should be repaired or replaced immediately.
Have them professionally serviced at least once a year
All fire extinguishers require periodic maintenance to ensure that they remain fully operational and continue to comply with the relevant Australian Standards. This type of maintenance work should only be performed by a professional trained in the provision of fire extinguisher services.
At least once a year, you should have all of the fire extinguishers on your premises serviced. The person carrying out this maintenance work will look for signs of corrosion and will check the pressure gauge readings and will make adjustments if necessary. They will then weigh each fire extinguisher and will recharge it if it is below the minimum weight level. They will also inspect all of the mechanisms, hoses and dip tubes, to ensure that they are free from any defects which could cause the fire extinguisher to malfunction when used.
Additionally, they may pull out the discharge hose and examine it for signs of rusting or blockages and, in the case of cartridge extinguishers, open up the internal compartment so that they can inspect and weigh the cartridge inside.
For more information, continue reading more about fire extinguishers here!