Fire extinguisher inspection checklists and testing are not only an NFPA requirement. They can also help ensure that your fire extinguishers are capable of containing or extinguishing most small fires before they become big ones. NFPA 10 is the standard for portable fire extinguishers. As a facility manager or business owner, here are four broad checks you need to follow.
Check No. 1: Follow Your Scheduled Services
You are required to have an Annual Inspection performed on your fire extinguishers. During the Annual Inspection the inspection technician will make sure the gauge reflect proper pressure, pins are in place, hoses are clear, extinguishers meet visual standards and Inspection Tags are marked appropriately. This is a visual check that does not require removal or replacement of an extinguisher unless a deficiency is found.
A six year service is required for dry chemical and Halon Fire Extinguishers. This is an internal investigation of the canister and replacement of internal O-rings and gaskets.
Fire extinguishers are required to have a hydrostatic test performed. At this time extinguishers are completely discharged, then internal and external inspections are conducted. During the final step the technician applies the appropriate hydrostatic pressure in order to test the integrity of the fire extinguisher shell.
If a hydrostatic test is needed, we have found at Brenneco that it is often more cost effective to replace the extinguishers with new or properly functioning one than it is to perform the hydrostatic test. If the extinguishers are 2.5-pound or 5-pound extinguishers, this is certainly the route we recommend. Often this is the case for 10-pound extinguishers as well. We will evaluate what works best for each individual client. When your extinguishers are 20 pounds and over, it’s typically less expensive to hydrostat them instead of replacement.
|Stored/Pressure Water, Water Mist Loaded Stream||5 Years|
|Wetting Agents||5 Years|
|AFFF(Aqueous Film-Forming Foam||5 Years|
|FFFP(Film –Forming Fluoroprotein Foam)||5 Years|
|Dry Chemical w/ Stainless Steel Shells||5 Years|
|Carbon Dioxide||5 Years|
|Wet Chemical (K Class)||5 Years|
|Dry Chemical, Stored Pressure, With Mild Steel Shells, Brazed Brass Shells, or Aluminum Shells||12 Years|
|Dry Chemical, Cartridge- or Cylinder-Operated, With Mild Steel Shells||12 Years|
|Halogenated Agents||12 Years|
|Dry Powder, Stored-Pressure, Cartridge Or Cylinder-Operated, With Mild Steel Shells||12 Years|
Check No. 2: Get the Right Extinguisher for the Job
As we’ve all heard hundreds of times, you have to have the right tool for the job. The same goes for containing or extinguishing fires, circumstances during which you don’t want to start testing out this old adage. One of the most important things a client should know is if they have the right extinguisher for the area in which they are working. Badger Fire Protection puts out a handy brochure that helps illustrate the differences. You can get it here .
The extinguisher classifications are A, B, C, D and K.
Check No. 3: Be Sure About Location, Location, Location
If you can’t reach your extinguisher, it probably won’t serve you well should a fire occur. There are rules to help you make sure you are properly mounting and locating your fire extinguishers. In most cases, an extinguisher should be within 75 feet of someone who can retrieve and use it. For class K fires, the maximum travel distance is only 30 feet. Fire extinguishers less than 40 pounds should be installed so that the top of the extinguisher is no more than 5 feet above the floor. This helps to ensure easy accessibility and visibility.
Check No. 4: Ask Yourself These 3 Questions
If you are concerned about your fire protection, ask yourself the following:
1. Is somebody looking at the pressure gauges monthly and marking the Inspection Tag? The gauge needs to be in the green (not under or overcharged).
2. Are you carrying out six-year service on your fire extinguishers?
3. Are you carrying out hydrostatic inspections on your fire extinguishers?
Be sure you feel safe and comfortable with your answers.
If you would like to add fire extinguisher inspections to your next fire protection system inspection, just let us know. Call 1-866-967-0017.