Maintenance Requirements for Fire Extinguishers

Posted by Saurabh Shyara on

Maintenance Requirements for Fire Extinguishers

Maintenance Requirements for Fire Extinguishers

Just like anything else, fire extinguishers also need maintenance. All things will break down eventually, but it is not a reason to neglect equipment maintenance to prolong their use. Due to this, OSHA has set guidelines to follow for a standard way of checking, maintaining, and testing the various types of fire extinguishers.

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Requirements for Effectiveness

Effective use of fire extinguishers need to have these qualities as stated by OSHA guidelines for them to be valid:

  • Operated by trained personnel.
  • Situated at a readily accessible area for immediate use. 
  • Must contain sufficient quantity and size that can deal with the specific fire class.
  • The use of proper extinguisher type to deal with the class of fire.
  • Acknowledged and approved by a recognized laboratory that does testing and evaluation.

How to Inspect a Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers need inspection at least once a month. This inspection is following OSHA requirements. It is to ensure that all fire extinguishers in your establishment are functional and in good condition. Here is a checklist on how to inspect visually:

  • Are the extinguishers in their assigned location?
  • Are there any damages?
  • Are there any obstructions to view or access the extinguisher?
  • Are the extinguishers filled and functional?
  • Are the pressure gauges showing sufficient pressure?
  • Are the nozzles blocked?
  • Are the seals and pins in place?

Consider training personnel to schedule and check the fire extinguishers properly. Ensuring the functionality of your extinguishers will put many minds at ease because there is no other alternative except calling the fire department if the fire gets out of hand.

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Other Requirements:

Before doing any maintenance, consider the following requirements first and refer to the manufacturer's suggested maintenance procedure. You need to consider and do the following first:

  • There are no required internal examinations for extinguishers of stored pressure or dry chemical type.
  • You have to do an annual inspection, disassembly, and discharge of steam or water types of fire extinguishers.
  • Every six years, dry chemical extinguishers that require a 12-year hydrostatic test must be emptied and subjected to appropriate maintenance procedures.
  • There are exemptions for non-refillable, disposable dry chemical extinguishers.

Hydrostatic Fire Extinguisher Testing

Hydrostatically tested Portable fire extinguishers help defend against accidental in-service failure. Internal corrosion, external corrosion, and abuse damage, among other things, may cause this. Hydrostatic testing needs qualified staff who have access to required test equipment and facilities. OSHA requires the following schedule for hydrostatic testing:

(The format is Extinguisher=Test Intervals in Years)

  • Soda acid (stainless steel shell)=5
  • Cartridge operated water and|or antifreeze=5
  • Wetting agent=5
  • Stored pressure water and|or antifreeze=5
  • Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF)=5
  • Foam (stainless steel shell)=5
  • Dry chemical with stainless steel=5
  • Loaded stream=5
  • Dry chemical, stored pressure, with mild steel, brazed brass, or aluminum shells=12
  • Carbon dioxide=5
  • Dry chemical, cartridge, or cylinder operated, with mild steel shells=12
  • Dry powder, cartridge, or cylinder operated with mild steel shells=12

The tested extinguishers need to have the affixed information and records kept until the extinguisher is hydrostatically re-tested or retired from service. A description for each hydrostatically tested extinguisher must include:

  • The name of the agency or individual that conducted the most recent hydrostatic test. It must also contain the date of the test.
  • The checked fire extinguisher's serial number or other identifiers.
  • The signature of the individual that made the last test.

Conclusion

With proper maintenance, the fire extinguishers in your establishment will surely last long and function well during times of emergency. If you require any help, consider asking a professional for sound advice or Fire Safety Equipment. They will ensure that you get your money's worth and some peace of mind.

The information in this article is provided solely for general informational purposes and based on data available at the time of publication. There is no guarantee that the facts or sources are correct or up to date. This article does not intend to replace an analysis of existing relevant government regulations or other industry standards.


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