In the perpetual battle against fires, outdoor fire extinguishers stand sentinel, braving the elements to remain ever-ready.

However, a silent assailant, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, constantly bombards these safety devices. Over time, the effects of this exposure can impact an extinguisher’s effectiveness and lifespan.

Let’s understand the implications of UV exposure on outdoor fire extinguishers and learn how to best shield them.

Silent Degradation: UV and Extinguishers

Invisible to the naked eye, UV rays relentlessly work their corrosive magic on many materials, including those that make up our trusty fire extinguishers.

UV radiation from the sun contains energy that can break chemical bonds, leading to degradation. When an outdoor fire extinguisher is exposed to this persistent threat, several issues arise:

1. Labels and Instructions: The legibility of the instructions and labels on fire extinguishers can gradually diminish.

2. Plastic Parts: Modern fire extinguishers incorporate specific plastic components, like safety pins, handles, or casings.

Continuous UV exposure makes these plastics brittle and susceptible to cracking.

3. Rubber Components: Rubber seals and O-rings ensure airtight and leak-proof containment of the extinguishing agent.

UV exposure can cause rubber to lose its elasticity and become hard, leading to potential leaks or operational failures.

UV Resistant Bags and Cabinets

The industry has developed innovative protective solutions. These are designed to shield extinguishers from UV but and offer protection against other environmental challenges:

1. UV Resistant Bags: Constructed from specially formulated materials that block or absorb harmful UV rays, these bags play a crucial role in prolonging the life of an outdoor extinguisher.

The tight fit ensures maximum coverage. Clear-view panels allow for quick inspection checks without removing the bag.

These bags are typically equipped with Velcro or zip fastenings to ensure easy access during emergencies.

2. Plastic Cabinets with UV Protection: These robust cabinets are designed to withstand direct sunlight, rain, dust, and even physical impact. Ventilated designs prevent moisture buildup, and clear-fronted models allow quick visual checks.

These cabinets often come with secure locks to prevent unauthorized access or tampering. When positioned outdoors, they serve as unmistakable markers, highlighting the presence of safety equipment.

Recommended Read: The Impact of Seasonal Changes on Fire Extinguisher Performance

Routine Fire Extinguisher Inspections: The First Line of Defense Against UV Damage

a fire extinguisher

The longevity and functionality of outdoor fire extinguishers hinge on more than just the protective gear they’re cloaked in; regular inspections play a pivotal role. Why? Let’s find out.

1. Early Detection of UV Damage: Even with UV protective measures in place, no solution is infallible. Inspections help identify signs of wear, discoloration, brittleness, or fading before they escalate into more severe issues.

2. Assessing Protective Solutions: While UV-resistant bags and cabinets are designed for durability, they can also experience wear and tear. Checking them for cracks, faded areas, or any compromised sections helps ensure they’re continuously offering the best protection to the extinguishers housed within.

3. Operational Verification: Apart from just UV-induced damage, regular fire extinguisher inspections check for other potential problems like leaks, corrosion, or pressure inconsistencies. An extinguisher may look perfectly fine externally but could have underlying issues that only a comprehensive inspection can reveal.

Access Fire Protection: Your Partner in Ensuring Fire Safety

Access Fire Protection understands the unique challenges posed by environmental factors, especially UV radiation. We offer comprehensive fire extinguisher inspection in Seattle and maintenance services to ensure your fire safety equipment remains in optimal condition (irrespective of where it’s placed).

Contact us to get started! We provide fire extinguisher services to industrial and commercial businesses across Seattle and Tacoma, along with the rest of King and Pierce Counties. Whether you’re interested in fire extinguisher inspection for warehouses, hospitals, healthcare facilities, or high-rise buildings, we’ll be more than happy to help.