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5 Reasons Why Fire Extinguishers Need Regular Maintenance

14th Sep 2016

Fire extinguishers perform a vital role in the suppression of small workplace fires. As one of the first lines of defence against fire, it is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that all extinguishers are serviced in accordance with BS 5306-3:2009

Of course it’s also simply sensible to check on potentially life-saving devices regularly, but what are some of the reasons that a fire extinguisher might fail? Fire extinguishers perform a vital role

Corrosion

The main extinguisher cylinder is manufactured from steel or aluminium, designed to withstand the internal forces of the pressurising gas.  Over time, this metal may begin to corrode or deteriorate from stress and compromise the structural integrity of the cylinder which can result in the extinguisher failing.

Your fire extinguisher service package will include a regular evaluation of both the internal and external condition of your fire extinguisher.

Tampering 

People, especially young ones, are understandably inquisitive of fire extinguishers. If your fire extinguishers are in the public view, there’s a chance that someone may have tampered with them. Tampering can range from removing the headcap seal or the locking pin, loosening the hose, discharging some of the contents, or moving the extinguisher away from its designated point. Sometimes the tampering may be unintentional, such as when an extinguisher is moved for cleaning or used as a door stop. Any of these may render the extinguisher unfit for use and non-compliant with the British Standard.

Your fire extinguishers will be checked for any tampering during servicing. However, if you find or suspect that an extinguisher has been tampered with, you should call out your service provider to check and rectify any problems. You may want to look into tamper resistant extinguisher cabinets or extinguisher covers if the problem is persistent. 

Hose Blockage

The discharge hose of your fire extinguishers, over time, may become blocked by debris or insects, resulting in impaired functionality when used. The hose and connector O-rings may also deteriorate over time.

Services by our qualified engineers include inspection of the fire extinguisher hose and regular replacement of any compression O-rings. 

Leakage

The weight of the fire extinguisher is clearly marked on each maintenance label. This is not so that you know how difficult it is to lift, it’s because the extinguisher’s weight is the simplest method of telling whether or not the contents are as they should be. During a regular inspection, our qualified engineers will weigh the extinguisher and compare it to its weight during the last inspection. If the extinguisher’s weight has dropped over 10%, it’s a clear indication of a leak, and the engineer will investigate the cause.

Many extinguisher also have a pressure gauge in the valve assembly, and this is also tested during the routine service. 

General Wear

Fire extinguisher will experience general ‘wear and tear’ over the years, from the odd scuff on the paint to fading labels.

However, the consequences of seemingly innocuous damage can be greater than one might think. For example over time, as the maintenance label on the extinguishers become faded the important information that the service technician needs becomes illegible.

If the instruction label is damaged a user could choose the wrong extinguisher for the type of fire, or not be able to read the instructions for use.

The engineer that services your extinguishers will ensure that all labelling on your fire equipment is clear and legible.

Fire extinguisher maintenance and servicing is required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Red Box Fire Control offers routine preventative maintenance under a simple annual service agreement, one off visits to rectify problems, or a 5 year fixed price service agreement for clients with 10 or more extinguishers.

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Over this time we've grown in knowledge and expertise, focussing on supporting businesses with their compliance in a friendly yet efficient manner.

We are confident that we're able to provide our customers with a high level of professionalism and industry insight. Add to this our commitment to integrity, and when it comes to fire safety you can expect peace of mind unmatched by other suppliers.

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