Proper training is essential to maximise the effectiveness of your fire safety plan. Equally essential is the importance of fire extinguisher servicing. Here's why...
The obvious question when it comes to fire safety is: "Why take the risk?", especially when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our employees, our customers or even our family members. But sadly so many of us still do just that, whether it's by behaving dangerously out of ignorance, or by simply not maintaining fire safety standards.
In most premises, whether you're in retail, hospitality or manufacturing, the law requires that you provide the correct equipment for handling a fire emergency. This can include things like fire blankets, extinguishers and even built-in systems that are automatic. Fire extinguishers are by far the most effective first line of defence in fire safety (first Aid for Fire), but did you know that they all need to be regularly checked and maintained?
When does my fire extinguisher need to be checked and serviced?
There are three stages when fire extinguisher maintenance and safety checks are essential:
- Upon delivery – ISE Fire will check that there has been no damage or fault incurred during processing and transit, and commission the equipment.
- Monthly checks - by a designated member of your team (preferably someone with Fire Safety Training). You should check for any signs of damage and that the pressure gauge is in the green zone, and that the extinguishers are in the correct locations.
- Annual service - this will include ensuring the extinguisher is correct for purpose and is in the correct location; checking that the correct ID sign is in place; that the unit is not damaged; changing the O-rings; check that the pressure gauge and the weight is correct and also completing and signing the maintenance label.
Should I conduct the annual fire extinguisher service myself?
No, the British Standards Institute advises that servicing should be carried out by a ‘competent person’, ie someone who has undertaken the training course, passed the exam and takes regular refresher courses. Think of it like the brakes on your car - after all, they're similarly trusted to save your life when called upon. Just like your brakes are tested (along with other safety features) by a mechanic during a MOT; the maintenance and servicing of your fire extinguisher should be carried out by a capable service provider, with a relevant qualification.
Fire Emergency services attended 496,000 incidents in the UK in 2014/15. Fortunately, there has been a decline in fatalities and injuries caused by fire, thanks in no small part to our better understanding of good fire safety practices and equipment maintenance.
For more information on the different fire extinguisher colours and to find which fire extinguisher types are best for you, please take a look at our website today.