Why Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Is Important?

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Once your fire extinguishers, fire prevention and response equipment is acquired and installed it is important to make sure the equipment remains in working order.

Fire prevention and response equipment can fail if not properly tested and maintained. Your facility should have an Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) in place with a plan that specifically addresses the testing, inspection and maintenance needs of your fire extinguishers and other safety equipment.

Fire extinguisher maintenance is particularly important because of the routine monitoring that is needed.  Without proper fire extinguisher maintenance your equipment can malfunction when needed the most.  This can be an avoidable tragedy for your facility and personnel.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
Based on Australian Standard AS-1851 the following are some tips for fire extinguisher maintenance:

  • The tag attached to your fire extinguisher should never be removed.  The tag stipulates the frequency of the Maintenance Common Cycle Routine and recharging specifications.

  • Records of all fire extinguisher maintenance, repairs and inspections should be kept in accordance with the AS-1851 guidelines.  The fire extinguisher maintenance record should include date of manufacture, type of extinguisher, and other information required by the guidelines.  The records can be kept in written form or on a computer, but must be readily accessed and updated at the property’s location.

  • If a facility installs ten or more fire extinguishers there should be a site plan, map, or other document that denotes each extinguisher’s specifications and location.

There are several maintenance intervals to use, based on the fire extinguisher instruction tag.  Also all fire extinguishers are expected to be fully discharged, a pressure test is performed, and the unit is recharged at least once every six years to insure proper working order. 

Fire extinguishers that are exposed to aggressive or harsh environments will need a more frequent maintenance cycle. Harsh environments include higher than normal vibrations from machinery, exposure to sun or ultraviolet light, abnormally dusty or dirty conditions, extreme moisture or extreme temperatures.

Any defective units found during the fire extinguisher maintenance should be removed from service and replaced with a working unit.  The defective units should be tagged appropriately so there is no confusion on its usability. Working with a fire safety expert can help you to stay compliant and also keep your facility safe from potential fire hazards.