How Often Should Fire Extinguishers Be Tested in Child Care Centres?

A child care centre should be a safe haven for the young, thus, must provide utmost protection from danger. One of the worse things that could happen there is a fire incident, which is why fire safety maintenance such as fire extinguisher testing is given priority.

In line with this, a child care centre is required to have a regular testing and maintenance of fire safety equipment following a strict schedule. Australian standards state that a sticker must indicate maintenance records by a certified inspector. The certification procedure includes the following:

  • Conformity to strict standards of safety rules
  • Meticulous testing for ensuring quality of equipment

The fire extinguisher testing requirements involves a thorough assessment on each tank to ensure that it is functioning perfectly to the tiniest bit of piece.

Photo Credit: Servando Miramontes

A professional fire safety service provider inspects fire extinguishers every 6 months. However, a building safety officer takes responsibility in doing monthly checkups on these units, mainly doing the following:

  • Fire extinguishers are precisely assigned on specific areas where they are accessible during emergencies
  • Each part of the equipment is examined for any signs of obstruction and missing parts
  • Physical damages should be immediately reported to a professional fire safety technician to determine whether to replace or fix it. Possible damages are leakage, corrosion, and clogged nozzle.
  • The seals indicate untampered equipment and must be kept intact at all times
  • Operating instructions should be visible and clearly printed.
  • Testing dates must be recorded on the tag to indicate if it is due for inspection

Fire prevention in child care centres indicates a well-secured place, which establishes a good working and learning environment. The knowledge on basic equipment inspections certainly plays a huge role in creating the ideal child care centre.

Some of the most notable inspections involve the basics of the unit’s functions and its external influencing factors. Here is a guide on the inspection procedure:

Pressure Gauge

 

Fire extinguisher pressure gauge
Photo Credit: Jason Yung

A pressure gauge is responsible for indicating the amount of pressure the extinguisher can use while expelling contents. When it is too low, it functions less than its ability. Therefore, checking the pressure indicator gauge from time to time will definitely help keep it at its best condition. A monthly check by the building’s health and safety officer if fine, but if it indicates a low pressure, a fire technician will have to fix it.

Checking possible hose damages

 

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

The hose has to be properly connected to the shell and in perfect condition. Any signs of cracks may still affect the entire functionality of the equipment. Some tiny particles may cause obstruction to the nozzle, building up pressure in the hose and consequently restricting the contents from releasing properly.

Adjust the bracket

The unit has a supporting bracket that puts it in place by gripping. An incorrectly mounted unit results to release of the extinguisher and further damages such as pressure destabilisation. Fasten the bracket and secure the hanger to ensure the effectiveness of the support fitting.

Signage and Location

 

fire extinguisher
Photo Credit: richard winchell

Fire extinguishers are ideally placed along pathways and near exits. Signages are expected to be readable and clear from 20m apart and should clearly indicate important instructions. Note that fire extinguishers are mounted at a standard height of at least 200mm between the floor and base of the unit, and a maximum of 1200mm between the floor and the top of the extinguisher. Surrounding areas of the unit shall be clear from obstruction and lastly, the front part must be faced outward.

Test

There is a standard testing process with its accompanying tag that goes after a complete check up. Absence of this indicates unmanaged equipment and requires a fire safety officer visit to assess.

Fire equipment is made for the safety of properties and lives. Inarguably, it naturally needs regular maintenance; hence, this type of safety equipment needs to undergo servicing by an accredited fire safety professional.

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