If you're like most people, you have probably never been in a situation where you were needed to put out a fire using a fire extinguisher. That said, you wish to have absolute confidence in your fire so that you know you're going to be protected in the event of a fire. Basic fire extinguisher maintenance and upkeep requires three measures: a monthly fire extinguisher examination, an yearly professional review along with a 12-year hydrotest.
Step one: the monthly self-inspection For the monthly self inspection, you do not need any special gear or training - that is just a visual inspection. There are a number of things you should take a look at if performing a visual inspection of your fire extinguisher:
First, make sure your fire extinguishers are easy to see and access, which everyone in your construction knows how to operate them fast and efficiently in case of a fire. While doing this, be certain that the instruction nameplate is clearly observable and facing outward. Additionally, check the tag on the extinguisher - if it says it has been over a year since your last fire extinguisher inspection, phone a fire protection company.
Assess the physical condition of the extinguisher: make certain that the pin is intact and isn't stored on by tape or wire, that there aren't any signs of obvious physical harm to the mind, body or nozzle, such as cracks, dents, rust or leakage and that the nozzle is not obstructed or blocked at all.
Check to make sure that the arrow on the pressure gauge is pointing toward the green zone. This also indicates that the extinguisher is fully charged and will activate properly if employed. Since the fire extinguisher is generally sealed tight, the only times the arrow could possibly dip down out of the green zone are after you have discharged the extinguisher or if it's leaking.
Last, flip the extinguisher down and up about five times. The dry chemical within the fire extinguisher tends to cake, so turning it around will help mix it up.
Step two: yearly professional review This step is easy - simply phone a fire protection services company. They will come out and do essentially the exact same thing which you do every month, however they compose a new tag to say definitively whether your extinguishers are in good shape or not. This may seem unnecessary, but it's actually extremely important - if the the fire marshal visits your building and finds untagged extinguishers or extinguishers with expired tags, then you might have some big fines!
Step three: hydrotesting If your extinguisher has managed to make it 12 years without having to be replaced, you need to get it hydrotested. A hydrotest involves charging the entire body of this fire extinguisher with water in test pressure. This can help expose any hidden cracks or weaknesses in the extinguisher body which need to be addressed.
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