Fire extinguisher guidance chart
To provide you with a little guidance about which type of fire extinguishers you might require please refer to the table below, all fire extinguishers have the body colour of signal red, and at least 5% of the body must be colour coded in the pre-EN3 (BS 5423) colours. a good example is the Dry Powder extinguisher now red (BS-EN3) with the coloured band of blue which was the old (BS 5423) colour code to represent the dry powder.
Servicing & maintenance information
Lack of maintenance can lead to an extinguisher not discharging when required, or rupturing when pressurized. Deaths have occurred, even in recent times from corroded extinguishers exploding. In the UK, three types of maintenance are required:
Basic Service: All types of extinguisher require a basic inspection annually to check weight, correct pressure (using a special tool, not just looking at the gauge) and for signs of damage or corrosion, cartridge extinguishers are opened up for internal inspection & check weighing of the cartridge, labels are checked for legibility, where possible dip tubes, hoses and mechanisms checked for clear free operation.
Extended Service: Water, Wet Chemical, Foam & Powder extinguishers require every five years a more detailed examination including a test discharge of the extinguisher and recharging- on stored pressure extinguishers this is the only opportunity to internally inspect for damage/corrosion. By recharging fresh agent is used as they all have a shelf life, even water goes foul inside an extinguisher; Note: extinguishers should be percentage tested according to total number of units in any given area. Some extinguishers contain pressure in excess of 1.38 MPa (200psi) and this internal pressure over periods of time affects each brand & make differently depending on their placement & location.
Overhaul: CO2 extinguishers, due to their high operating pressure, are subject to pressure vessel safety legislation and must be hydraulic pressure tested, inspected internally & externally and date stamped every 10 years. As it cannot be pressure tested a new valve is also fitted. If replacing any part of the extinguisher (valve, horn, etc) with a part from another manufacturer then the extinguisher will lose its fire rating. This may invalidate insurance, as would incorrect or inadequate servicing if it were to be found.
Until the next service visit the responsible (or nominated) person should ensure that a visual inspection is carried out on all your fire extinguishers at least monthly.
The reason for this requirement is that any problems with your fire extinguishers may remain undetected and uncorrected until the next service visit, it is important to document your visual checks and keep the record in your fire safety manual, the following checklist will help you:
Check that the extinguisher is in it's correct location
Check that the anti-tamper seal is not missing
If stored pressure, visually check the pressure gauge
Check for any damage to the extinguisher
Confirm the operating instructions are legible
Ensure the extinguisher(s) are unobstructed & visible
Survey's during annual service
Cherwell Fire Safety provide you with a free survey during every service call, we will survey your premises noting any shortcomings or deficiencies with your fire fighting appliances, fire and means of escape signage. We will provide you with the most recent developments within the fire industry and discuss how this will affect your business in the future, providing you with the best solutions to proceed.
Fire extinguisher guidance chart