7 tips for the proper maintenance of portable fire extinguishers

Make sure you keep your maintenance up to date

Fire authorities are actively prosecuting employers for failing to maintain essential fire safety equipment – the maximum penalty is a prison term. Don’t let this happen to you. BS5306 Part 3 requires that fire extinguishers are maintained at least annually by a competent person. This is someone who has a qualification issued by a third party organisation such as IFEDA, FPA, FETA or FIA.

Make sure you provide the proper equipment. ‘Designer’ chrome fire extinguishers cannot hold BS EN approval. This is because BSI standards can only be applied to extinguishers painted red with a label no larger than 5% of their area.

All new fire extinguishers must be commissioned by a competent person on site following delivery. The commissioning must include positioning the extinguishers in their correct location and checking their suitability for that location.

The British Standard sets out a maintenance schedule which involves a weekly check, monthly visual inspection, a basic annual service and extended services at 5-yearly intervals until the end of the extinguisher’s useful life, at around 20-years-old. Carbon dioxide extinguishers must be refurbished after 10 years.

Annual services should include a detailed examination for damage, pressure indicator checks, measurement of pressure and weight of extinguisher contents, and checking of mechanisms.

Extended servicing should include more rigorous testing together with a discharge test.

Your weekly check can be undertaken by an employee and is simply to check for extinguisher use or damage.

Your monthly visual inspection should check that each extinguisher is correctly located, is visible and not obstructed; the operating instructions are clear and fully visible; the extinguisher has not been discharged, is undamaged and has no missing parts; the pressure gauge is within the safe range; and the anti-tamper seals are intact. A record of these checks should be kept on file, preferably in your fire log book..

Basic Fixed Fee

Our basic fixed fee includes testing all your fire extinguishers and also includes service spares for a fixed fee instead of charging individually, giving you better value for money. There is an additional charge for British Standard Extended Services (required every 5 years).

Comprehensive Service

Our comprehensive service is a fixed fee that includes all British Standard Extended Services as well as all service spares.