In this article I'd like to introduced the subject of servicing your extinguishers and why it's so important.
I'll also go into a little more detail and introduce some other issues you should consider when it's time to service your own extinguishers.
As well as this I'll discuss the appropriate BSI standards and why you should know about them.
Servicing isn't something you should cut corners with. Hopefully you'll never have to use your extinguishers but if/when you do, you want to be sure they're safe ready to use immediately.
Applicable BSI Codes of Practice
Before you even consider hiring anyone to perform your extinguisher servicing, you should ensure they work in accordance with British Standard Code of Practice 5306 Part 3 - 2009.
BS 5306 is the series of BSIs British Standards relating to fire extinguishing installations and equipment. Part 3 is the Code of Practice for the commissioning and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers.
As most people use portable units, this is the part that is likely to be the most appropriate to your fire extinguisher servicing requirements.
Checks Made During Servicing
Finding someone who works within the BSI Code of Practice this will help you to meet the health and safety requirements within your work environment.
It's also good to know a little about what kind of work needs to be carried out on your units.
All fire extinguisher types should be inspected for pressure, weight and for any obvious signs of damage, such as dents or corrosion.
All mechanisms, tubes and hoses should be checked to ensure they function correctly and labels should be checked to ensure they're still easily readable. Cartridge based units can also be inspected internally by opening them up, but don't try this yourself.
If all of the above is checked at least once a year your servicing will have done it's job. You will be safe in the knowledge that if you ever need to use your extinguishers they'll be available and in good working order.
Other Related Issues to Consider
Something that's easily forgotten is that water and foam based units which are not in a heated environment during the winter can freeze.
Such units must contain a low temperature additive to prevent them from freezing.
CO2 extinguishers require conventional servicing for 10 years. After that a hydro-static test must then be performed.
After this amount of time though it's usually a good idea to replace the extinguisher for a new one. As your units age there comes a point where it's safer and cost effective to replace them.
Remember that your old fire extinguishers can usually be recycled too.
Ask your local council or your fire extinguisher servicing company for details about recycling your old units.
Author: Trevor Sammuel Evans
If you're looking for fire extinguisher servicing, refilling, products or just more free information, please visit: http://FireExtinguisherServicingHQ.com
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