A fire extinguisher is a useful equipment that we can have at home. It doesn’t need extensive training for you to use it. But you need to take note that fire extinguishers do not last forever. It needs to be inspected from time to time. How often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected? Read on and find out.
Use of a Fire Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher a common thing that we see in our homes and other establishments. It is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires. But it is not advisable to use it in out-of-control and massive fires that require the expertise of professional firefighters.
There are four types of fire extinguishers, and they have different uses for different kinds of fire. Class A extinguishers put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper. Class B is used for use on flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, and oil. Class C is suitable for use only on electrically energized fires, and Class D extinguishers are designed for use on flammable metals.
Due to the higher heating rates of oils in commercial cooking appliances, a new class of fire extinguisher was developed. Classified as Class K fire extinguishers, they used on fires involving cooking medium (fats, grease, and oils) in commercial kitchens. You must be aware of all its types and uses to be very precise and a lot of help when the time comes that you are held responsible for its use.
How Often Should Fire Extinguishers be Inspected?
We need to know how often a fire extinguisher needs to be inspected to ensure that they will be in optimal working condition in the event of a fire. You need to achieve certain fire extinguisher inspections, either monthly, annually, and every six years. Each inspection varies, and there’s a need to hire a professional to perform the annual and six-year fire extinguisher inspections.
- Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspections. Once a month, you need to inspect your fire extinguisher for any physical damage. You must look for any signs of physical damage, such as leaks or dents or weathering. You must also check the pressure gauge if it’s still on the green level to ensure that the indicator is in the operating range. Make sure that the pull-pin seal is still intact, too. After that, verify the date of the last professional inspection. To mark the monthly visual inspection, put an initial and date at the back of the tag.
- Annual Fire Extinguisher Inspections. Hiring a professional inspector is needed to inspect your fire extinguisher in your home yearly. He will be responsible for the detailed cross-checking of your extinguisher. He will also validate that fire extinguishers are placed every 75 feet of travel on every floor of the building or house and within 30 feet of cooking equipment. The technician will also check for any modifications that could reduce the effectiveness of each fire extinguisher. He will then tag and date each fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers that don’t pass the inspection will need to be either repaired or replaced.
- Six-Year Fire Extinguisher Inspections. Rechargeable fire extinguishers require more detailed inspections every six years. It will involve the conduct of a hydrostatic test, which entails the fire extinguishers to be emptied, placed underwater, and subjected to pressures that outdo their ratings. Those that fail the test are destroyed. On the other hand, those that passed the test are reassembled, recharged, and placed back in service.
How to Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher at Home
Surprisingly, you can inspect your fire extinguisher on your own at home. You need not be a professional technician or inspector to do the inspection. You must follow the basic steps.
First, you must make sure the extinguisher is visible and easy to retrieve.
Secondly, check the pressure through the pressure gauge that indicates if the device is in the proper functional range. You must check to make sure that the gauge’s indicator shows adequate pressure. Press the test indicator if the fire extinguisher has it to make sure the pressure reading is within the correct range.
Third, look for any visible signs of damage. Check for the look of the can, hoses, and nozzles. Record your checks on the extinguisher’s inspection tag to help you keep track of its maintenance history.
Lastly, clean your fire extinguisher from dust or grease, and clean it. Some fire extinguishers may need to be shaken monthly, or its pressure tested every few years.
Also, check the extinguisher’s label for the last maintenance date. If it’s over ten years already, it is recommended to get a new one.
Fire emergencies often occur when we least expect it. Fire extinguishers are fire protection devices that are very helpful in case of fire. Maintenance is the key to maximize their use, so you should have them inspected. Now that you have learned how often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected, you are giving yourself a big step towards safety. Get more tips on survival kits.