How Often Should You Inspect Your Fire Extinguishers?

ABC Fire & Safety
3 min readApr 24, 2023

Introduction:

Fire extinguishers are a crucial safety feature in any building, providing an immediate response to small fires and preventing them from spreading. However, fire extinguishers can only be effective if they’re in good working order. Regular inspections are necessary to ensure they’re ready for use when needed. In this article, we’ll discuss how often you should inspect your fire extinguishers and provide some tips for maintaining them.

  1. Monthly Visual Inspections: Monthly visual inspections should be performed on all fire extinguishers to ensure they’re easily accessible, have not been tampered with, and are in good condition. During this inspection, you should look for any signs of damage, such as dents, rust, or leaks. Additionally, check the pressure gauge to ensure it’s in the green zone, indicating the extinguisher is charged.
  2. Annual Maintenance Inspections: Annual maintenance inspections should be performed by a qualified professional to ensure the fire extinguisher is functioning correctly. During this inspection, the technician will perform a thorough examination of the extinguisher, including checking the pressure, inspecting the valve, and weighing the extinguisher to ensure it’s still fully charged.
  3. Hydrostatic Testing: Fire extinguishers should undergo hydrostatic testing every 5 to 12 years, depending on the type of extinguisher and the manufacturer’s recommendations. This test checks the integrity of the extinguisher’s shell to ensure it can withstand the pressure of being charged.
  4. Keep Records: It’s crucial to keep detailed records of all fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance. This record-keeping can help ensure compliance with regulations and serve as a reference for future inspections and maintenance. Be sure to keep records of any repairs, upgrades, or changes made to the extinguishers.
  5. Training: Having trained personnel who know how to use fire extinguishers can make all the difference in preventing small fires from becoming large ones. Ensure that all staff members are trained in the proper use of fire extinguishers and know which types of extinguishers are suitable for different types of fires.

FAQ:

Q: Can I inspect my fire extinguishers myself?
A: Monthly visual inspections can be performed by anyone trained to do so, but annual maintenance inspections should be done by a qualified professional.

Q: How often should fire extinguishers be inspected?
A: Fire extinguishers should be inspected monthly and undergo annual maintenance inspections by a qualified professional. Hydrostatic testing should be done every 5 to 12 years.

Q: What types of fires can be extinguished with a fire extinguisher?
A: Different types of fires require different types of extinguishers. Class A extinguishers are suitable for fires involving ordinary combustibles like wood and paper, while Class B extinguishers are suitable for flammable liquids and gases. Class C extinguishers are suitable for electrical fires, and Class D extinguishers are suitable for fires involving flammable metals.

Q: How do I dispose of an expired fire extinguisher?
A: Contact your local fire department or waste management facility for instructions on how to properly dispose of an expired fire extinguisher.

Conclusion: Regular inspections are essential to ensuring fire extinguishers are ready for use when needed. Monthly visual inspections, annual maintenance inspections, and hydrostatic testing should be performed to ensure the extinguishers are in good condition and fully charged. Keeping records of all inspections and maintenance is crucial for compliance with regulations and future reference. Additionally, having trained personnel who know how to use fire extinguishers can make all the difference in preventing small fires from becoming large ones. By following these tips and guidelines, you can help ensure the safety of your building occupants and reduce the risk of injuries and property damage caused by fires.

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