According to the NFPA, as much as 30% of portable fire extinguishers in use are not in good working order. This means an extinguisher could fail you when you need it most.
If you have been resistant to the idea of providing maintenance for the fire extinguishers on your premises, here are five reasons why they need to be serviced regularly.
1. Hard to See Damage
Over time, damage or deterioration can occur in hard to see areas. For example, corrosion to the aluminum or steel extinguishers can occur on the inside weakening the integrity of the cylinder over time.
2. Potential Hose Blockage
Another difficult to see problem is potential blockage or damage to the hose. Insects or other debris can get stuck in the hose, impairing functionality. The O-rings on the hose can also deteriorate and compromise the extinguisher.
3. Potential Leaks
Subtle leaks can occur that could render the extinguisher useless. Some extinguishers have pressure gauges so that you can check, but not all have them, so leaks may be hard to detect.
4. Wear to Vital Labels
Even when not used, extinguishers still experience general wear and tear over time, especially if they are outdoors or in an active warehouse setting. One possible effect of this wear can be fading, illegible maintenance labels.
These labels contain important instructions for proper use that would be needed by anyone who used it to actually fight a fire, as well as information needed by service technicians.
5. Some May Need Recharging
If any extinguishers were used, even partially, they will need to be recharged immediately after use to ensure they are ready to be used again in the future.
How Often Should You Get Your Extinguisher Serviced?
Extinguishers need to be inspected monthly, per NFPA code. In addition, annual maintenance is required on all portable fire extinguishers, 5-year hydrostatic test on carbon dioxide and water-based extinguishers, 6-year maintenance on stored-pressure extinguishers, and 12-year hydrostatic test on stored-pressure and cartridge operated extinguishers.
If you ever notice any evidence of damage or tampering, or if you see that the pressure needle is no longer in the green, you should call your fire protection service immediately to schedule an inspection as soon as possible.
Ensure that your fire extinguishers are ready when you need them the most. Koorsen’s team of experts is ready to help provide the highest quality products, training, and service for all of your fire extinguisher needs. Give us a call today to get started.