Each year, fire extinguishers are responsible for preventing thousands of fires from raging out of control, and are estimated to save the UK economy over £500 million in potential damages. Every business should have fire extinguishers installed, but are they serviced regularly and installed properly? Here’s some important points to consider:
By law, there must be a means for tackling a fire in the workplace. In addition, all equipment must be annually serviced by a professional, and monthly checked by a member of your own staff.
Self Inspection of Your Extinguishers
Your staff aren’t expected to be able to perform a technical service of your extinguishers, but they should perform visual checks: It’s important to make sure the extinguisher hasn’t been used, dropped, or had the pins tampered with. Lastly, the extinguisher should be checked for signs of leaks or discharge and the pressure gauge reading noted.
An annual inspection should be carried out by a trained engineer. This involves checking and servicing valves, gauges and hoses as well as looking for signs of corrosion. It’s also important that the engineer records the weight of the extinguisher to ascertain if the unit has leaked since its last service.
In addition to these checks, a fire extinguisher is given a major overhaul every 5 or 10 years, depending on type. This would usually involve discharging and refilling the extinguisher, and replacing any worn parts.
Extinguisher Mounting and Signs
Finally, all extinguishers should be well sign posted so that everyone knows where they are, and what method of extinguishing they use. All extinguishers should be mounted on brackets and never left stood at floor level.