The Importance of Professional Fire Extinguisher Inspection

Fire extinguishers are crucial tools to keep on hand for emergencies. However, forgetting that they need regular inspections and maintenance can be easy. This can lead to an obstructive fire extinguisher that doesn’t work in times of need. NFPA 10 has specific requirements for extinguisher inspections, maintenance, and documentation.

Identify Any Issues

Fire extinguishers are your first line of defense against small fires. However, they can only help if they are working correctly. That’s why it’s essential to have them inspected regularly. A professional fire extinguisher inspection near me can conduct monthly visual inspections, maintenance, and hydrostatic testing for certain extinguishers. During the monthly visual inspection, checking the pressure gauge on the fire extinguisher is essential. The needle should always be pointing in the green operating range. If it’s not, then it needs to be recharged or replaced. It’s also a good idea to check the hose for signs of damage or clogs. Kinks or cracks in the hose can prevent the agent from being appropriately distributed when used on a fire. Also, look for signs of tampering, like a missing safety pin or broken tamper indicator. If these are present, the fire extinguisher should be replaced immediately. A licensed inspector can guide these additional maintenance and testing requirements.

Check the Gauge

Once you’ve determined that your fire extinguishers are in the right place, verifying that they are still functioning correctly is essential. Check the nozzles for clogs or other obstructions that could prevent the discharge of the extinguishing agent. Also, look for physical damage like rust, dents, corrosion, and other apparent signs of wear and tear. Lastly, check the gauge to ensure it points in the green area. If it isn’t, the extinguisher must be refilled or replaced. While this basic inspection isn’t as in-depth as an official one by a fire safety professional, it does provide the opportunity to catch issues that might not be obvious during a routine visual inspection. By performing this monthly check, you can ensure that your team will have a functional fire extinguisher ready in an emergency. A regular fire extinguisher inspection will help you stay current on your yearly maintenance and hydrostatic testing requirements (if applicable). A licensed inspector can help you determine these schedules.

Check the Safety Pin

If the pin is missing, broken, or otherwise tampered with, the fire extinguisher will not work in an emergency. The safety pin is usually found on the neck of the cylinder, connecting the handle and nozzle or directly attached to the handle. The pin locks the discharge lever and prevents accidental discharging. The gauge needle is another vital information that should be inspected during a fire extinguisher inspection. The needle should be in the green zone, with enough pressure to extinguish a fire effectively. If it is in one of the red zones, it must be recharged immediately. Finally, the inspector should check that the fire extinguisher is visible. This is to ensure that individuals will quickly locate it during an emergency. Having fire extinguishers buried behind furniture, office equipment, or even under sink cabinets is not a good idea and can cause issues during an emergency.

Check the Label

The label of a fire extinguisher should be clear and legible. This is vital for employees to be able to read and use in a fire emergency. During a visual inspection, the inspector should also look for signs of physical damage on the cylinder and nozzle and ensure the tamper seal is intact. In addition to monthly visual inspections, conducting annual professional inspections of your fire extinguishers is a good idea. This involves a detailed examination of the hoses, nozzles, seals, and labels by a trained fire protection professional. During an annual inspection, the extinguishers are emptied of their contents, examined, and certified for proper service by a trained fire suppression technician, refilled, re-pressurized, and then marked with a new tamper seal. During an annual inspection, the fire extinguisher technician will also review the reports from the previous year to determine which fire extinguishers are due for six-year maintenance or 12-year hydrostatic testing. This will help them save time and prevent unnecessary trips on future inspections.