When a fire breaks out, the first thought for many is: where can I find the nearest fire extinguisher? To ensure that a fire extinguisher is always available and ready to perform, monthly visual inspections and annual inspections are needed.
Continue reading to learn more about when fire extinguishers need to be inspected and the procedures involved.
When Do Fire Extinguishers Need to Be Inspected?
Fire extinguishers are essential lifesaving equipment. However, like all other lifesaving equipment, fire extinguishers must routinely be inspected, maintained, and tested.
OSHA requirements mandate that fire extinguishers receive both monthly and annual inspections.
The first time a fire extinguisher should be inspected is when it is initially installed or put into service. Following this inspection, the fire extinguisher should be inspected at least once a month.
If the fire extinguisher is located where the fire extinguisher might begin to develop rust, such as outdoors or in a humid basement, inspections should occur more frequently.
Inspections should also occur more frequently in areas where the fire extinguisher is susceptible to damage or tampering.
As discussed below, monthly fire extinguisher inspections are rather simple. For this reason , annual inspections are also required in addition to monthly inspections.
What Do the Fire Extinguisher Inspection Procedures Involve?
Monthly fire extinguisher inspections include, at a minimum:
- Making sure signs are clearly posted to provide directions to the nearest fire extinguisher
- Making sure the fire extinguisher is where it is supposed to be
- Making sure that there are no objects present that obstruct or make it difficult to reach the fire extinguisher
- Making sure the pressure gauge shows that the fire extinguisher is properly charged
Monthly fire extinguisher inspections do not need to be performed by a certified inspector. They can be performed by anyone who knows what they are doing.
Whenever a monthly fire extinguisher inspection is performed, an inspection tag/tagging must be affixed to the fire extinguisher to show:
- The date the inspection was performed
- The name of the person who performed the inspection
Additionally, it is recommended that the same information be recorded on paper or in a digital form in case the tag on the fire extinguisher becomes lost or illegible.
Unlike monthly fire extinguisher inspections, annual fire extinguisher inspections must be performed by a person certified to perform fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance.
Procedures involved in an annual fire extinguisher inspection include:
- Following the inspection and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer specifically for the fire extinguisher being inspected
- Checking to make sure the mechanical (moveable) parts of the fire extinguisher are functioning properly
- Checking for dents, rust, and other physical damage
- Checking the discharge hose for punctures and cracking, if the fire extinguisher has a discharge hose
- Recharging the fire extinguisher, if the extinguishing agent is not at the correct pressure
In common with monthly fire extinguisher inspections, upon completion of an annual fire extinguisher inspection, the fire extinguisher needs to be tagged or labeled. The tag or label needs to have written on it:
- The date of the inspection
- The name of the inspector
Further, the tag or label affixed to the fire extinguisher following an annual inspection must have the name of the inspector’s agency written on it.
Every so often, fire extinguishers need an internal examination to be performed. The fire extinguisher manufacturer sets when and how to perform internal inspections.
When an internal examination is performed, a verification-of-service collar is installed around the neck of the fire extinguisher. The collar indicates:
- The month and year of the internal examination
- The name of the agency that performed the internal examination
Why You Should Have Koorsen Fire & Security Perform Your Fire Extinguisher Inspections and Maintenance
When the time comes for your annual fire extinguisher inspections, Koorsen Fire & Security is here and ready to help.
The certified expert fire extinguisher technicians at Koorsen Fire & Security have the training and experience necessary to guarantee that your fire extinguishers are always in good working order and ready to be used in an emergency.
If you have questions about fire extinguisher service, including inspections and maintenance, and to schedule your inspections, contact Koorsen Fire & Security today.