What is Entailed in a Routine Fire Extinguisher Maintenance?

19

Portable Fire extinguishers are usually the first line of defence in the event a fire breaks out. It is a crucial part of any fire protection system, and therefore, it must be kept in good working condition.

To ensure that the unit is in a workable condition, it is essential to arrange for regular inspection and maintenance of the system to deal with normal wear and tear, minor damages, etc.

According to the AS 1851 2012, fire extinguisher maintenance should be carried out every six months or so and inspected at regular intervals to ensure it is in optimum working condition.

This article entails the activities in a routine maintenance schedule. A lot of people confuse inspection and maintenance, and these terms are often interchangeable. However, they are different, and you should not be confused:

Timely and Regular Inspections 

It is a quick check to give a thumbs-up that the unit’s installation is correct, and that it is recharged, and ready for use. The duration and frequency depend on the use and the age of the fire extinguisher. It takes place initially during the first installation of the fire extinguisher. After that, its performance can be either monthly or fortnightly as the case may be.

Maintenance 

Fire extinguisher maintenance is a thorough check of the unit. It includes examination and necessary repairs, replacement, or recharging as may be deemed essential upon examination. It should be done at fixed intervals of once or twice a year. You should hire experienced and certified professionals for the inspections and maintenance tasks.

What Goes Into Regular Maintenance Activities?

Routine maintenance and servicing by professionals generally involves the following:-

  • Visual inspection of the unit and checking of the unit if it is hung correctly with the right fixtures
  • Removing the extinguisher from the hanger
  • Checking the gauge pressure
  • Conditions of the gauge and its compatibility with your extinguisher
  • Checking the valve and the shell for any sign of damage or corrosion. The professional will also check to see if the pin and tamper seal (if any) are intact.
  • Removal of the hose to check for any cracks or splits and the condition of the discharge horn
  • Inspection of the valve, shell, and the valve opening for deposition of any foreign particle
  • Cleaning of the extinguisher for cleaning any chemical or deposition of oil, grease, etc. may settle.
  • Visual inspection of the area surrounding the extinguisher to check if the extinguisher is visible and unobstructed

Of course, these are just the routine activities that are carried out, and additional work may be involved in case the extinguisher needs hydrostat testing, recharging, and refilling if sufficient time has elapsed from the date of installation.

Therefore, regular inspection should take place to reveal any shortcomings or need for repairs. Depending on the result of the inspection, maintenance or servicing session may be carried out. This process ensures that any wear and tear is immediately attended to from time to time. Also, it will ensure that the unit is operable and ready for use when the need arises.