Knowing how often a fire extinguisher needs to be inspected can help you ensure that your fire extinguisher will be in optimum working condition in the event of a fire. Depending on the type of fire extinguisher inspection being performed, there are different recommendations and requirements for the time between inspections.
There are certain situations that require fire extinguishers to be inspected at a more frequent rate, including if a property has a frequent history of fires, if there is a good possibility extinguisher may be damaged (for example, forklift operations in a storage facility could impact extinguishers).
Fire extinguisher maintenance inspections should be performed on an annual basis by a professional fire protection company that has the proper tools and training to ensure the fire extinguisher is code compliant, as well as to correct any potentially hazardous situations. Fire extinguishers that pass their annual inspection are verified with a date inspection tag, which is good for one year from the date indicated. Fire extinguishers that fail the inspection will need to be either repaired or replaced.
Similar to maintenance inspections, internal maintenance inspections for fire extinguishers should be performed by a professional fire protection company every 5, 6, or 12 years, depending on the type of fire extinguisher.
Fire extinguisher internal maintenance inspections involve discharging the fire extinguisher and performing a complete internal examination and recharge to make sure all components of the fire extinguisher are in optimal working condition. Periodically, fire extinguisher cylinders will also need to be hydrostatically tested, which requires the fire extinguisher to be emptied, placed under water, and subjected to pressures exceeding its ratings.
Fire extinguishers that fail this test will be destroyed, while the ones that pass will be reassembled, recharged, and placed back into service.
Homeowners and business owners should understand the importance of fire extinguisher recharging. This process is an important aspect of fire extinguisher service and maintenance, and cannot be ignored. Fire extinguishers must remain fully charged or pressurized to be effective in an emergency.
Here are several instances where fire extinguisher recharging needs to take place:
- Fire extinguishers need to be recharged periodically throughout their life, even if they haven’t been used. Both The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 10 Code standard for portable fire extinguishers and manufacturer’s service guidelines require periodic internal examination and recharging. For the most commonly used stored pressure dry chemical fire extinguishers, this internal examination and recharging is required at six and twelve years from the date of manufacture noted on the extinguisher.
- Extinguishers can also need to be internally examined or recharged due to damage or other environmental factors that may result in them becoming depressurized.
Fire extinguisher recharging should be performed by a trained professional. Fire protection companies have the tools, training and knowledge to ensure that your fire extinguishers are in peak working condition and that they have been properly refilled with the correct extinguishing agent while visual inspection is being conducted.
Please note that Installation and Commissioning should always be carried out by a trained fire extinguisher technician if the extinguishers are required for business use. This ensures that the extinguishers are installed in the correct location and are certified as a proof of correct installation and sufficient provision against the fire safety risks.
Bahamas Welding and Fire provides the highest quality of service when dealing with the installation of fire extinguishers. Every extinguisher we install is in compliance with all current Governmental Inspection Codes to ensure that our clients meet their obligatory fire and safety requirements.