Fire extinguisher regs: The techy bit
There are strict standards set for the installation, service and maintenance of fire extinguishers in Britain, which fall under BS 5306-3:2009.
Five levels of installation and maintenance are covered in the standard:
- Service (Basic)
- Service (Extended)
And each of these services must be carried out by a competent person, who must have the correct qualifications, training and experience, access to the relevant tools, equipment and information, manuals and knowledge of any special procedures recommended by the manufacturer of a fire extinguisher, to carry out the relevant maintenance.
Of course, all Expert Fire Solutions' multi-skilled service engineers have undergone strict BAFE and FIA approved training for servicing fire extinguishers. This, along with our on-going training courses, refresher training, manufacturers’ updates and field knowledge and experience, completes our competency as required by the legislation.
Duties of the responsible person
As an employer, you are automatically designated as the “responsible person”, and you are obliged to carry out regular visual inspections of all fire extinguishers. These visual inspections should be carried out monthly as a bare minimum.
Fire legislation [1-3] and its associated guidance notes suggest good practice is to determine whether fire extinguishers have been operated and to check for damage on a weekly basis.
Visual inspections are used to check that:
- Fire extinguishers are correctly located in the designated place
- Fire extinguishers are unobstructed and visible
- The operating instructions of all fire extinguishers are clean and legible and face outwards
- Fire extinguishers have not been operated and are not obviously damaged or have any missing parts
- The reading of any pressure gauges or indicators fitted to fire extinguishers are within operational and safety limits
- The seals and tamper indicators of all fire extinguishers are not broken or missing.
The responsible person will need to record the results of these visual inspections and arrange for corrective action, where necessary, by a competent person. In the event of doubt, the responsible person should arrange for a competent person to examine the fire extinguisher.
Responsible persons also have obligations under fire legislation [1-3] to use a competent person to maintain fire extinguishers in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.