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How Often Should You Test Your Fire Extinguishers?

Fire extinguishers in public and commercial buildings are so commonplace that they go virtually unnoticed day to day, yet their importance should not be underestimated. Official statistics reveal that, in the 12 months to March 2020, fire extinguishers were used by members of the public to tackle nearly 5,000 of the fires attended to by Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs). As the availability of a fully-functioning fire extinguisher can be invaluable in preventing small blazes from becoming major infernos, it’s vital that equipment is kept in excellent working order.

In this article, we look at your legal responsibilities as a business regarding the testing and maintenance of your fire extinguishers.

Monthly checks by a responsible person

Within your organisation, a responsible person should be appointed, such as a maintenance manager or fire warden, to undertake simple monthly checks on every fire extinguisher on the premises.

The purpose of the monthly checks is to identify any obvious emerging problems that could cause the equipment to fail, or to be unavailable, when it is most needed.

Each month you should check:

  • The position of fire extinguishers, to ensure they are not being used inappropriately or are in the wrong place.
  • That fire extinguisher signs are visible and legible.
  • Whether the exterior casing of the extinguishers is damaged, deformed, or dented.
  • That the pressure gauge on each extinguisher is pointing to the green zone.
  • That the tamper seal is in-situ.

A record of monthly checks should be maintained, with any concerns noted and the actions taken to address these.

Annual Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

In addition to your monthly inspections, every fire extinguisher must, by law, receive an annual service by a qualified engineer. Annual inspections must be carried out to BS 5306-3:2017 standards and a full service log retained.

The annual service will include:

  • Visual checks for damage or corrosion.
  • A check to ensure the pressure gauge is working and the correct pressure is maintained.
  • Checks on the discharge hose to ensure there are no blockages or damage.
  • Replacement of the O-ring on the discharge hose.
  • Cleaning of the extinguisher.
  • Assessment of the wall mountings to ensure they are in prime condition.
  • Checks that the operating instructions are legible, and the weight of the extinguisher is recorded on the information label.

Contact Rhino Fire Control For Expert Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

As a qualified and experienced fire extinguisher maintenance company, Rhino Fire Control can ensure that your equipment is safe, operational, and legal. Whether you require an annual safety check or a more regular fire extinguisher maintenance and inspection programme, our BAFE-registered engineers will ensure that your people and property are protected should a blaze break out.

To arrange maintenance of your organisation’s fire extinguishers, or to enquire about any aspect of fire safety on your premises, please contact our fire safety consultants today.


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