Once your fire extinguishers, fire prevention, and response equipment are acquired and installed it is important to make sure the equipment remains in working order. Fire extinguishers are a crucial component of any building. The very last thing you would want to have is a school fire and not have a fire extinguisher that is working properly and meet fire extinguisher certification requirements as outlined by the Australian Standards AS1851-2010. It’s because of this inspection and testing of fire extinguishers is especially important.
Fire extinguisher inspection and maintenance is particularly important because of the routine monitoring that is needed in order to meet fire safety standards in schools. Without proper fire extinguisher inspection and maintenance, your equipment can malfunction when needed the most. This can be an avoidable tragedy for your school facility and personnel.
5 Things to Look for in Fire Extinguisher Inspection and Testing
Fire extinguishers must be visually inspected and tested for the following:
1. Location and accessibility
It is important that your fire extinguisher is safely kept in a specially designated part of the building. In addition to having a designated space, fire extinguishers should also be easily accessible. There should be no obstructions that keep the extinguishers either hidden or difficult to access.
2. Legible nameplate and operation instructions facing outward
How the fire extinguisher is placed in the designated location is just as important as it is being placed there. The instructions accompanying the fire extinguisher are usually placed on the nameplate or label. This should be easy to read and should be facing outward.
3. Safety seals, tamper indicators, and physical damage
It is important that the safety seals and other tamper indicators should be intact on fire extinguishers for them to be deemed up to code. Seals should not be broken or missing. Other indicators of physical damage such as corrosion, leaks, or clogged nozzles are also a no-no.
For a fire extinguisher to be useful, it needs to be full or close to full. Otherwise, it simply would not be useful. An empty fire extinguisher cannot keep fires under control. Fullness is determined by weighing the extinguisher. This is also known as “hefting.”
5. Condition of carriage features
The condition of the carriage features of a fire extinguisher, such as the wheels, hose, nozzle, and tires are all important to the extinguisher’s effective functions. A fire extinguisher is useless unless the wheels and hose work properly so as to efficiently bring relief in the case of a fire. Also, blocked nozzles are counterproductive.
6. The position of the pressure gauge
Finally, the pressure gauge reading on the extinguisher should be within operable range. As such, this is also checked during the fire extinguisher testing procedure.
Fire can occur unexpectedly and at just about anytime, it is required that you keep your fire extinguisher in the very best possible state at all times. Working with a fire safety expert can help you to stay compliant and also keep your school facility safe from potential fire hazards.