How often does my fire extinguisher need servicing?
All fire safety equipment must be serviced, maintained or repaired in accordance with British Standards 5306-3, which will check all moving parts, the firing mechanism, as well as an internal and external inspection.
Once a month (water & foam, powder, CO2, wet chemical)
Damaged or coroded fire extinguishers can explode and are generally unsafe, so it's important to carry out regular visual inspections of portable fire extinguishers. BS5306-3 states this should be "not less than monthly and, when circumstances require, inspections should be carried out more frequently". It's a good idea to document your monthly checks in your Fire Safety Log Book to keep track of any changes.
A basic inspection should include:
- Checking the pressure gauge to see if it has a reader in the operable range
- Examining for signs or corrosion, wear or damage
- The tamper seals, if it has one, and the pin are intact
- The fire extinguisher is not blocked
- It is located in the designated area, is visible and unobstructed and has its operating instructions facing outwards
Every year (basic service - water & foam, powder, CO2, wet chemical)
All fire safety equipment must be annually serviced by a competent trained professional, ideally a company registered by the British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE). However, if the extinguisher has been used, or if you notice any change in the pressure gauge, it should be serviced immediately.
Every 5 years (extended service – water & foam, powder)
If you have had your extinguisher for more than five years, you will need to have an extended service conducted by a competent trained professional. This will entail:
- All the elements from the basic service
- A discharge test
- Valve service/ overhaul
- Refilling an re-pressurising
Every 10 years (extended service – CO2)
As CO2 extinguishers are high pressure cylinders, they are subject to different regulations. They require an extended service at 10-year intervals. This will require replacing the main valve, hydraulic testing (also known as a stretch test) and being sent back to an approved testing centre. This usually means that you will be supplied with a service exchange replacement.
EVERY 20 YEARS: ALL FIRE EXTINGUISHERS, REGARDLESS OF TYPE, SHOULD BE REPLACED.
Servicing and monthly check-ups will help to provide you with peace of mind. It also ensures your business is meeting fire safety regulations which can help you to avoid significant fines.
Remember, no matter how frequently you check the extinguisher, it is still important to have it professionally serviced each year.
All Expert Fire Solutions service technicians have undergone strict BAFE and Fire Industry Association (FIA) approved training, so you can be assured that all your fire extinguisher servicing will be carried out in accordance to BS5306.