In a world full of uncertainties, fire extinguisher reliability is one thing you don’t want to gamble with.
Fire extinguishers are life-saving devices; they’re an integral part of our safety measures (both at home and in the workplace). However, owning a fire extinguisher isn’t enough. Proper fire extinguisher maintenance is crucial to ensure they’re in peak condition when you need them most.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll uncover the top maintenance practices that contribute to fire extinguisher durability.
1. Regular Inspections
You can’t determine the condition of a fire extinguisher by merely looking at its exterior. Perform regular inspections; carefully check for cracks, dents, and rust. The pressure gauge should also indicate that the fire extinguisher is fully charged. If not, it must be recharged immediately (more on this later).
2. Thorough Cleaning
While dust and grime may seem harmless, they can accumulate in the nozzle and hinder the extinguisher’s performance when activated. Ensure you clean the extinguisher regularly and check the nozzle for blockages.
3. Periodic Pressure Checks
Pressure checks are one of the most vital steps in maintaining a fire extinguisher’s durability.
A fire extinguisher operates effectively within a specific pressure range (usually indicated by a green zone on the pressure gauge). Periodic checks (recommended at least once a month) ensure the device falls within this optimal range.
An undercharged extinguisher may not discharge adequately, and an overcharged one can burst, posing safety hazards.
If the needle on the gauge points to the red or yellow zone, immediate action is necessary. The fire extinguisher will either need recharging or, in extreme cases, a complete replacement.
Always consult a certified professional for any pressure-related issues. If you neglect this critical step, you’ll fail to comply with safety regulations, and put lives at risk.
4. Weight Verification
A decrease in weight can indicate a leak or other issue. Weigh your fire extinguisher at regular intervals and compare the weight to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
5. Internal Inspection
Internal inspection is the deep dive of fire extinguisher maintenance. This is where you go beyond the superficial elements to look at the core components.
Conducted by certified technicians, this meticulous process involves disassembling the fire extinguisher to scrutinize its internal parts. The o-rings, valves, and cylinder are checked for signs of corrosion, wear and tear, or other damage that could impede the extinguisher’s performance during an emergency.
Any defective parts are either repaired or replaced (depending on the severity of the damage). Afterward, the fire extinguisher is reassembled, recharged, and put through a series of tests to confirm its operational readiness.
Skipping this vital step could risk both the durability and efficacy of your fire extinguisher. It’s not merely a recommendation but often a legal requirement to have an internal inspection conducted at least annually or as directed by local fire codes.
6. Proper Storage
Proper storage of a fire extinguisher can significantly impact its longevity and effectiveness. The device should be stored in a cool, dry place, shielded from elements like extreme heat, moisture, and corrosive substances. Always use desiccants in storage areas.
Heat can cause the internal pressure to rise dangerously high, while exposure to moisture can lead to corrosion (both of which will impede performance).
It’s also important to store the fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location (preferably mounted on a wall at eye level). Accessibility is vital during emergencies when every second counts. Fire extinguishers stored improperly can experience reduced efficiency and may not function when required.
7. Recharge After Use
After each use, recharge your fire extinguisher, even if you’ve only discharged a small amount. Avoid waiting; you never know when you’ll need it next.
Professional Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Services
For businesses or property owners with multiple fire extinguishers, keeping track of all these factors can be a daunting task. This is where professional services come into play.
At Access Fire Protection, we specialize in fire extinguisher inspection and maintenance. Our team of certified professionals is trained to perform detailed inspections and provide comprehensive maintenance services that meet each client’s specific requirements.
If you’re looking for fire extinguisher services in Seattle, Tacoma, or the Puget Sound area, contact our team today. Whether you require fire extinguisher inspection for warehouses or fire extinguisher maintenance for hospitals, we’re the right people to contact. Let’s get started.