Monthly Fire Extinguisher Safety Checklist For Small Businesses

Posted on: 9 May 2016

It's important for the safety of your employees, and for that of your business premises, that you have your fire extinguishers serviced by a professional appliance services company on an annual basis.  However, it's also important that you give your extinguishers a monthly visual check to ensure that they are in good condition.  Here's a helpful guide on what you need to do.

Fire extinguisher safety check guide

  1. Begin by looking at the position of your fire extinguishers to see if anything in their location has changed since your last inspection.  For example, if new office furniture has been installed, the extinguisher signage may be obstructed, or if you have new electrical machinery in an area, you may need a CO2 extinguisher sited nearby instead of a water unit that is unsuitable for use on electrical fires.  
  2. All your extinguishers should have securely fitted wall brackets or floor stands.  There should also be clearly visible signage next to the extinguishers giving details on their operation in the event of a fire.  Insecure fittings should be repaired and damaged or missing signage replaced.  
  3. If a fire extinguisher is fitted with a pressure gauge, the needle should be resting in the green zone.  A red zone indicator means that the pressure inside the extinguisher is too low and therefore needs servicing or replacing immediately.  
  4. Your fire extinguishers should be fitted with safety seals in the form of metal pins and secured with a tamper-proof seal.  Make sure that these seals are undamaged and intact, and arrange for replacement extinguishers if necessary.  
  5. For the appliance to work efficiently, it's important that the gauge, nozzle, and valve are all clean and free from dust and grease.  If necessary, gently clean the extinguisher using a clean, damp cloth and consider using fire extinguisher covers in particularly dirty environments, such as workshops.  
  6. The fire extinguisher's cylinder should be free from dents, rust spotting, or signs of leakage.  Damaged fire extinguishers are potentially highly explosive and should be removed and replaced immediately, ideally by a professional appliance services company who are trained in safe removal practices.  
  7. All the labelling on your fire extinguishers should be clear to read.  If the labelling has become too dirty or faded to be legible, you'll need to ask your appliance services company for a replacement label.  
  8. Over time, the powder in powder extinguishers can settle into a solid cake, meaning that the extinguisher won't work properly in the event of an emergency.  In the case of small appliances, you can check this by holding the extinguisher upside down and listening for the falling powder.  If the powder is caked, shake the extinguisher gently to disturb it.  Large, heavy extinguishers should be checked by a professional.

In conclusion

In between professional annual inspections by an appliance services company, you can make sure that your fire extinguishers remain in safe working condition by checking them monthly, as per the above guidelines. For more information, contact The Fire Protection Specialist Company Pty Ltd or a similar company.