How Often Should a Fire Extinguisher be Serviced?

Regular Monthly Visual Inspections

Monthly inspection checks apply to water, foam, co2, wet chemical and powder extinguishers. These monthly checks are quick, easy to do and shouldn’t take up too much time.

A monthly fire extinguisher inspection comprises of a quick visual check of the extinguisher, its pressure gauge, headcap pin and seal. This is to identify any damage, loss of pressure or tampering.

Finally, you should ensure that the extinguisher is located in its designated place on a wall bracket or extinguisher stand, and the extinguisher and usage instruction is easily visible.

Basic Annual Service

Fire extinguishers must be serviced every 12 months in what’s known as a “basic service” and this should be done in accordance with BS 5036-6.

This service is best done by a third party accredited fire extinguisher technician, with the correct tools, training and experience.

What specific steps are needed depends on the kind of extinguisher being serviced, as well as its age. Typically the technician will change the headcap seal, check the correct operation of the headcap safety pin, test the pressure gauge, and change any O rings in the junction of the valve and hose or horn. A visual check of the condition of the extinguisher and instruction label completes the job.

Finally the technician will complete the maintenance label which carries the service history of the extinguisher.

End Of Life

Providing that the fire extinguisher continues to pass inspections and can be serviced, there is no limit to how old a fire extinguisher can be. However, after a while replacement parts are no longer available, manufacturing standards change, and it becomes harder to service economically.

Because of the current environmental requirements regarding discharging of contents, and British Standard requirements regarding refilling, many extinguishers are now simply replaced with a new one when they are due an extended service or refill after use.

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