If you are a business or own a rental property with multiple occupancy, you will need to have fire extinguishers on your premises. These are part of the safety infrastructure you must have in place relating to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. It’s your responsibility as a business owner to ensure that these are in the right place and easily accessible should there be a fire.
How Often Should Your Extinguisher Be Serviced
Having a fire extinguisher on your property is not your only obligation, however. You also need to make sure they are fit for purpose and working correctly. That means undertaking regular checks and servicing.
Under British Standards BS5306 your fire extinguishers need to be checked by the responsible person or their representative, to make sure that the device is working correctly and meets the current standards. These checks and regular servicing need to be carried out at different times of the year.
You or your representative should carry out a monthly inspection of all fire extinguishers on the premises. This is essentially a visual inspection and should be carried out no less than once a month and, if you can, more often, particularly if you have large premises and multiple devices are involved. If a fire extinguisher becomes damaged for some reason or has corroded, it will present a danger to those around and may have the potential to explode.
The areas you should be checking are:
- The extinguisher is in the right place and hasn’t been moved.
- The pressure gauge is reading properly according to the operations manual.
- There are no signs the extinguisher is rusting or there is erosion or other damage. You should also check for blockages.
- Check the tamper seal is intact and make sure the pin is still properly in place.
Servicing Your Fire Extinguisher
Apart from monthly checks, you should also undertake an annual fire extinguisher service. This applies to any fire safety equipment and needs to be carried out by a professional who has gained a third-party certification. The most common being the British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE) or Fire Industry Association (FIA). The only time you should do this sooner is if the extinguisher has been used – it’s vital that you have an inspection and service immediately after use.
If an extinguisher is over five years old, the servicing engineer should arrange an extended service – this includes all the basic service requirements but adds a discharge test, servicing the valve and refilling and depressurising the extinguisher. If you have CarbonDioxide extinguishers, things are a little different, after 10 years you need to have these replaced as they must be returned to the manufacturer for a hydraulic and pressure test to be completed.
Providing your extinguisher has been properly serviced and is not damaged, i.e. instructions clearly visible and are legible, no signs of rusting inside or out (this can only be done by a qualified engineer), you should be replacing the equipment no later than every 15 years.
When it comes to checks, we’re obviously talking about long periods of time here so staff responsible for servicing and maintenance can come and go. It is imperative, therefore, that businesses keep accurate and easily accessible records concerning their firefighting equipment.
If you would like to book a Fire Extinguisher Service then please call us on 0330 6600264 or email [email protected]
Until Next Time… Stay Safe