Fire extinguishers are a great defense against small fires within the workplace, but in order to be effective, simply put, they must be operationally sound in the event of an emergency. Because building owners and facility and property managers are not in the fire and life safety business, they may not always be aware of the specific details surrounding the proper inspection and maintenance required for fire extinguishers. They also may not be privy to other building code-compliant requirements that are mandated by local, state and federal guidelines in order to protect their associates and facilities. These details are of the utmost importance when it comes to fire protection and keeping the fire marshal on your good side.
Should I Recharge or Replace My Fire Extinguisher?
When a fire extinguisher has been used, you typically have the choice of either recharging it or replacing it. Your local fire and life safety partner has the mobility to visit your facility and provide this service. They will inspect each extinguisher to determine if it can be recharged or needs replacement. Here are some of the items that the professionals look for during their inspection to determine the condition of the commercial fire extinguishers within your facility.
When to Replace Your Fire Extinguishers
The first and most obvious thing to look for when evaluating the condition of a fire extinguisher is the shell or canister. If there are no cracks, dents or prevalent rusting, the extinguisher is most likely in good condition. Also, to be inspected are the hose or nozzle of the extinguisher. Anytime you see a crack, rip, or clog, it should be repaired or replaced. Lastly, attention will be given to the gauge, carry handle and pull pin and if damaged, they should be repaired or replaced. This thorough evaluation will determine the need for maintenance or replacement.
Most Fire Extinguishers Can Be Safely Recharged by Your Local Life Safety Service Provider
By maintaining proper inspection and maintenance procedures, most fire extinguishers are rechargeable after use. This is a safe and worry-free process for you, the owner/manager, once contacting your local fire and life safety partner. Every time a fire extinguisher is used, it must have maintenance performed and be professionally recharged.
In addition, even if you have not used a fire extinguisher, it’s important, and required by code, that a monthly inspection be performed upon each fire extinguisher and that an annual maintenance be performed by a qualified individual who’s been properly trained in this process. Even though a fire extinguisher may not have been used, it has the potential to lose its charge and be deemed unsafe or ineffective in the event of an emergency.
That’s right – over time, your commercial fire extinguisher could slowly lose its charge. To check your fire extinguisher to ensure that it’s properly charged and ready for use, observe the gauge and see if the arrow is within the green area shown. If it’s not, the fire extinguisher should undergo proper maintenance procedures to remedy the situation and ensure that the fire extinguisher is in proper working order for future use. Additionally, if the extinguisher feels much lighter than it did previously, you should have it inspected and recharged. When in doubt, always contact your fire and life safety partner for professional assistance.
Need to have your building’s fire extinguishers inspected, recharged or replaced? Let CertaSite comprehensively manage your life safety program so you don’t have to. Simply fill out the form below or call us at 844-906-2321 to start the conversation.