Fire Extinguishers: Maintenance & Importance

10 May 2019
Fire Extinguishers: Maintenance & Importance

With proper care and testing, fire extinguishers should last between 10 and 12 years. It is important to schedule regular tests and you should ensure that it is properly looked after, so that it remains reliable and can be deemed as safe and ready to use in case of emergency. In the event your extinguishers have failed tests or haven’t properly been cared for, they must be replaced immediately.

When should a fire extinguisher be replaced?


When the seal around the neck is weak and broken down, the air can escape easily, lowering the pressure in the fire extinguisher and causing it to malfunction. The chemical powder in the fire extinguisher can settle at the bottom and get packed down, meaning it won’t disperse properly, and therefore be ineffective. A fire protection company can empty and ‘recharge’ it so that you won’t have to replace it. If the pin is missing, the handle is broken or the nozzle is cracked, it is also important to replace it as it can easily be misused and will not serve its purpose properly.

How can I dispose of a fire extinguisher?


Because of the chemicals inside of the extinguisher, they can’t be thrown into the trash. There are certain things you need to do to make sure the disposal of your fire extinguisher is safe and proper. You can call your local fire station and see if you can drop off the extinguisher, but if they won’t accept it you can also take it to the nearest hazardous waste disposal facility. If the extinguisher is already empty, squeeze the lever to make sure that all pressure has been released, and remove the head so that whoever disposes the extinguisher knows that all the contents have been removed. Most recycling facilities should accept the steel body once it is clear, and this is the most effective and best way to dispose of your extinguisher.

Why are fire extinguishers important?


Fire extinguishers are a vital part of fire protection and around 70% of all fire incidents didn’t require the assistance of the emergency services as they were taken care of by fire extinguishers. Around 80% of fires are started accidently, and in most cases a fire extinguisher can make a huge amount of difference in limiting the spread, and potentially stopping any blazes from breaking out. The overall purpose of a fire extinguisher is to stop or contain fires until Fire and Rescue Services can take control. Businesses should take their fire safety seriously, and extinguishers are an integral part of any organisation’s approach. Fire extinguishers are manufactured to BSEN3 and installed in accordance to BS5306 part 8. All fire extinguishers should be serviced to BS5306 part 3, and individuals should have proper training.

How do you look after your extinguishers?


Looking after your extinguisher is important. If you look after it, you won’t need to replace it as regularly, and it will be more effective when cared for. The extinguisher shouldn’t be blocked by any equipment or any objects that may interfere with its access. The pressure should be at the recommended level, which will be displayed on the gauge (the needle should be in the green zone- not too high, not too low). There must be no dents, leaks, rust and signs of wear. Wipe off any chemicals, oil and gunk that may be on it, and make sure it is in clear view so that in case of emergency, it is visible. A ‘quick check’ should be done to give assurance that it is in working order, or that it needs a further, deeper check. They should be maintained at regular intervals, whether it be three times a year, once a year etc, and remember to recharge all extinguishers immediately after use, regardless of how much they’ve been used.

How can WJ Fire help?


WJ Fire can install and help maintain fire extinguishers for a variety of purposes in a variety of buildings. All fire extinguishers installed by WJ Fire are manufactured to the highest standard in the UK and carry the British Standard Kitemark as a guarantee. WJ Fire can carry out surveys to ensure you meet the current standards, and we ensure we colour code so operators identify correct extinguisher types and clear printed instructions. Our fire extinguishers include water, spray foam, ABC powder, dry special power, CO2 gas or wet chemical, and fit different purposes. We have over 20 years of industry experience, and your safety is our priority. We’ll ensure your business complies with fire regulations, and we can tailor a package to fit your needs. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you and your business, then please get in touch with us by calling 01420 476071. We look forward to helping take your fire safety to the next level!