A fire extinguisher is the most important part of the fire protection strategy. However, this vital fire safety device often gets misused, left in the corner, or often forgotten. But, do you know that poorly maintained fire extinguishers can pose a risk to your life?
Fire extinguishers play a pivotal role in first-aid fire fighting. From a small fire incident that can be quickly put out to a dangerous mishap that can threaten the precious lives, a well-maintained fire extinguisher can make a difference.
Moreover, until the fire and rescue time arrives, this fire safety equipment is the only defense system you can use to save people and property. But what if the safety pin in the fire extinguisher has been corroded? Well, it renders the extinguisher inoperable when you need it the most.
Thus, it is necessary to maintain it properly. If you still don’t feel the urgency to keep the fire extinguishers in your premises well-maintained, read to discover more reasons.
Environmental Forces May Cause Problems With Fire Extinguishers
The harsh environment can cause a great deal of fire extinguisher problems. Though they can withstand tough weather conditions, it is necessary to inspect them regularly and arrange professional fire extinguisher services whenever needed.
Some common sources of damage include-
- Exposure to UV rays
- Excessive vibration
- High or low temperatures
- Precipitation, humidity, moisture, etc.
Sometimes, damage to the fire extinguishers occurs in the hard-to-see areas. For example, corrosion to steel or aluminium extinguishers may occur on the inside that weakens the cylinder’s integrity.
Potential Leaks And Hose Damage
Blockage or damage to the hose is another hard to see problem in the fire extinguishers. Insects, debris, or other foreign things may get stuck in the hose and impair the functionality of the device. The O-rings present on the hose can compromise the working of the extinguisher.
Besides, subtle leaks can render the extinguisher useless when you need it the most. While some of them have pressure gauges for detecting any potential leakage, but not all. Therefore, getting it checked by the professionals is crucial.
The Extinguishers May Need Recharging
Even if the extinguisher was used partially, it needs to be recharged immediately after the use. This helps you to make sure that the extinguisher is kept ready for future use.
Further, if the extinguisher was not used, it can still experience wear and tear over time. This happens especially when they are installed in a warehouse setting or outdoors. One potential effect of this wear and tear is that it can fade away the maintenance labels.
NFPA Mandates Regular Inspection Of Extinguishers
NFPA requires regular inspection and maintenance of all types of fire extinguishers and fire safety devices. It gives an idea of top concerns surrounding the device’s operability. These inspections also focus on accessibility issues and brief assessments of the fire fighting equipment’s conditions.
Subsequent Maintenance Can Rectify Extinguisher Problems
While in-house personnel can perform most of the inspection steps, maintenance involving work on internal parts needs professionals. If untrained personnel work on these parts, it may cause significant health, environmental, and safety risks.
How Often Should You Get The Extinguisher Serviced?
Fire extinguishers should be inspected monthly. Aside from this, annual maintenance is necessary for all the portable fire extinguishers. For example, a 5-year hydrostatic test on water-based and carbon dioxide extinguishers.
Furthermore, if you find any evidence of damage or see that the pressure label is no longer working well, it’s time to immediately call the fire protection service.
How To Tell If A Fire Extinguisher Needs Servicing?
If you find any of the following signs during the fire extinguisher inspection, it is necessary to consult a professional-
- The handle of the extinguisher is broken.
- The locking pin is missing or not working. The anti-tamper seal has been broken.
- Operating instructions and labels are not present.
- The extinguisher is damaged, i.e., the hose is blocked or cracked.
- The pressure gauge is outside the green zone.
To sum up, it is important to make sure that the fire extinguisher is ready to use when you need it the most. Look for a team of experts that offer the highest quality services and ensure that the fire fighting equipment meets all the fire safety standards.