Fire extinguishers perform a vital role in the suppression of small workplace fires. Regular inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire extinguishers are essential. Not only is it a legal requirement and is required for businesses but fire extinguishers play such a crucial part in putting fires out before they get out of hand, it’s vital that they work if and when they’re needed.
As one of the first lines of defence against fire, it is the responsibility of the resort owner to ensure that all extinguishers are serviced. This is the main reason why Melbourne resorts should invest in regular fire extinguisher testing.
Care and Maintenance of Your Fire Extinguisher
Based on Australian Standard AS-1851 the following are some tips for fire extinguisher maintenance:
- Make sure the Fire extinguisher is not blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that could interfere with access in an emergency.
- The tag attached to your fire extinguisher should never be removed. The tag stipulates the frequency of the Maintenance Common Cycle Routine and recharging specifications.
- Records of all fire extinguisher maintenance, repairs and inspections should be kept in accordance with the AS-1851 guidelines. The fire extinguisher testing and maintenance record should include the date of manufacture, type of extinguisher, and other information required by the guidelines. The records can be kept in written form or on a computer but must be readily accessed and updated at the property’s location.
- If a facility installs ten or more fire extinguishers there should be a site plan, map, or other document that denotes each fire extinguisher specifications and location.
- The pressure should be at the recommended level. On extinguishers equipped with a gauge that means the needle should be in the green zone – not too high and not too low.
- The nozzle or other parts should not be obstructed.
- Make sure the pin and tamper seal (if it has one) are intact.
- Ensure that there are no dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and other signs of abuse/wear. Wipe off any corrosive chemicals, oil, gunk etc. that may have landed on the fire extinguisher.
- Some manufacturers recommend shaking your dry chemical extinguishers once a month to prevent the powder from settling/packing.
- Fire extinguishers should be pressure tested after a number of years to five years as per AS1851 to ensure that the cylinder is safe to use. Consult your owner’s manual, extinguisher label or the manufacturer to see when yours may need such testing.
If the extinguisher is damaged or needs recharging, get it replaced immediately! Recharge all extinguishers immediately after use regardless of how much they were used.
Depending on the fire extinguisher instruction tag, there are several maintenance intervals to use. Additionally, all fire extinguishers are expected to get completely discharged, a pressure test is actually performed, as well as the unit is recharged once every 6 years to ensure proper working order.
Fire extinguishers that are exposed to aggressive or harsh environments will need a more frequent maintenance cycle. Harsh environments include higher than normal vibrations from machinery, exposure to sun or ultraviolet light, extreme moisture or extreme temperatures.
Any defective units found throughout the fire extinguisher maintenance must be removed from service and replaced with a functioning unit. The defective unit must be tagged properly so there’s no confusion about its usability. Working with a fire safety expert can help you to remain compliant as well as keep the facility safe from prospective fire hazards.
Once the fire extinguishers, fire prevention, and response equipment are acquired and installed it’s essential to ensure that the equipment continues to be in working order. Fire prevention and response equipment can fail if not properly tested and maintained, thus regular fire extinguisher testing is a great investment.
Fire extinguisher testing and maintenance is crucial due to the regular monitoring that is required. Without appropriate fire extinguisher maintenance, the fire extinguisher can easily malfunction if needed the most. By hiring the best fire extinguisher testing in Melbourne this can be an avoidable tragedy for your facility and personnel.