The Importance of Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
The importance of Fire Equipment Maintenance may not be readily apparent but If you are like most people, you probably won't think much about the fire extinguisher hanging on the wall of your office until you need it. In an emergency it’s the absolute worst time to discover that it is not working properly because it hasn't been maintained. In commercial and public facilities fire extinguishers are required and it is required that you have them your fire extinguisher maintenance preformed on an annual basis. Fre extinguisher maintenance is required for your safety and for the safety of your employees.
A fire extinguisher can appear to be a simple "red can" that hangs on the wall but in reality it is a precision fire protection - life safety device. And keeping this piece of fire protection equipment in working order requires regular fire Extinguisher maintenance which will include inspection, testing and other types of maintenance to ensure it functions when required.
There are several types of maintenance required to keep your fire extinguisher working properly: Annual Maintenance, 6 Year Maintenance and Hydro Static Testing.
Types of Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
Annual maintenance is provide once a year and encompasses a check of the following:
- Is the extinguisher where it is supposed to be
- Does the extinguisher have the correct amount of chemical in it
- Is the pressure used to expel the chemical in the correct range
- Can the safety pin be removed from the valve easily
- Is the hose and nozzle clear and unobstructed
- When was the last 6 Year Maintenance of Hydro Static Test performed
6 Year Maintenance
6 Year Maintenance e is performed (just like the name says) every six years. It is a total emptying of the fire extinguisher cylinder, internal examination for corrosion or other internal problems and a rebuilding of the fire extinguisher valve assembly.
When this service is performed they cylinder vale is removed and a Verification of Service collar is installed around the neck of the extinguisher to verify that the cylinder was dissembled as required.
Every 12 years in addition to the required 6 Year maintenance the cylinder of the fire extinguisher requires a pressure test to ensure that there is no hidden corrosion or faults in the material.
This requires that, just like the 6 Year Maintenance, the cylinder is completely emptied and visually examined and then the cylinder is filled with water and pressurized to the required test pressure. While under this pressure the cylinder is secured in a cage or shield to protect the person performing the test should a rupture occur.
Once the if the cylinder passes the test, it can be dried, refilled, the valve rebuilt, the fire extinguisher reassembled and put back into service.
Let's take a look at a typical ABC Dry Chemical extinguisher
Like one that may be in your office...
If you take the time to look at an ABC Dry Chemical fire extinguisher, probably like the one installed in your office you will notice that has a small tag hanging from the handle or from the neck area. This tag are placed there by your fire equipment maintenance company and are used to track the last time the fire extinguisher was inspected.
You may also notice a small plastic or nylon ring around the neck of your extinguisher - this was placed there the last time the valve was removed from the cylinder for refilling or testing. Your extinguisher may not have this Verification of Service collar yet - don't worry if there isn't a ring and the extinguisher has never been refilled. If your extinguisher has ever been refilled because it was used or because it had 6 year maintenance or hydro static testing done on it - there should be a collar on the next. Having this ring proves or verifies that the service company actually removed the valve from the cylinder in order to provide the services that they said they were providing.
If you continue to look at the extinguisher you may also find some stickers on the side or rear of the cylinder - not the manufactures labels, but some additional sticker that would have been applied by your service provider. These stickers track the last time the fire extinguisher had either a 6 Year Maintenance done on it or the last time a Hydro Static test was performed on the cylinder.
Other types of fire extinguishers
Other types of fire extinguishers might have slightly different schedules for the maintenance required on them but the work performed is similar and the outcomes the same. The following table outlines the different types of Fire Extinguisher Maintenance frequencies.
|Extinguisher Type||Maintenance||Internal Inspection||Hydro Static Testing|
|Dry Chemical (Stored Pressure)||1 year||6 years||12 years|
|Dry Chemical (Stainless steel)||1 year||5 years||5 years|
|Dry Chemical (Cartridge)||1 year||6 years||12 years|
|Carbon Dioxide||1 year||5 years||5 years|
|Water (Stored Pressure)||1 year||5 year||5 years|
|Wet Chemical||1 year||5 years||5 years|
|AFFF (Liquid Charge Type)||1 year||3 years||5 years|
|FFFP (Liquid Charge Type)||1 year||3 years||5 years|
|Dry Powder||1 year||6 years||12 years|
|Halogenated / Gaseous Agent||1 year||6 years||12 years|
All of this work (the Fire Extinguisher Maintenance) has one goal - ensuring that the equipment will be ready to use in the event of a fire emergency!
Contact New Jersey Fire Equipment for help with all of your fire equipment maintenance needs.