You need to know the basics of fire extinguisher inspection so that you can use the equipment safely during a fire breakout in your home or office. Follow the steps mentioned in this article to avoid injuries, burns, and fatalities.
Fire extinguishers are one of the most important safety tools which everyone should have at their residence and workplace. Mishap from fire is much riskier than imagined and is unpredictable too.
Everyone knows the advantages of fire extinguishers, so we don’t need to focus on that area but does everyone know, How much is a fire extinguisher? how to perform a Fire extinguisher inspection? or who does fire extinguisher inspection?
In this article, you will get all your answers if you have questions like this. Fire extinguisher inspection is a process done by companies manufacturing fire extinguishers to check the condition and test the fire extinguishers. read the article carefully to get a better understanding!
How Do You Inspect A Fire Extinguisher?
Step 1: Knowing Your Fire Extinguisher
You should carry full knowledge about the fire extinguisher you have. You should know the type and class of your extinguisher, when, and also which class of fire it is used.
Step 2: Maintenance or Inspection Tag
Keep on updating the maintenance tag after each inspection is done every month. These tags help the inspector to know the date and time the inspection was done at a glance.
Step 3: Gauge in the Green
If the gauge of your extinguishers is green then relax, because it indicates that your cylinder is properly charged and ready to use. There is a needle that stays on the green mark,
this is only known as the gauge or green. If the needle is not on the green mark and somewhere in the reading area, then you need to replace the extinguisher immediately.
Step 4: Safety Pin in Place
Safety pins prevent the gas or the content of the cylinders to come out of the lever if pressed accidentally. During the placement or the shifting of cylinders, safety pins play a major role.
In many extinguishers, a small zip tie is used to keep the safety pin in its place.
Step 5: Hefting
Hefting is a kind of quick inspection that does not need any expertise or tools. Hefting is used to ensure that the cylinder is in good condition.
Just because the gauge is green does not fully ensure that the cylinder is fully charged. Lift the cylinder to feel and get an idea of the content by the weight of the cylinder.
Step 6: Dents and Damage
Physical damages are quick to notice. Do check the body of the cylinder carefully. There. Should not be any dent or damage in the body. If you find any, immediately replace it with a good one.
Step 7: Hose
The hose is the part of the cylinder from where the content is released. Check the hose carefully. Ensure that it is not clogged and is not blocked with any object. Replace the extinguisher if you find any faults.
Step 8: Operating Instructions
Ensure that the instructions written on the cylinder are clear and easy to understand. The label should not be covered with any sticker or a wrap. Replace it if the label is not clear to you
Step 9: Document
It is the same as an inspection tag where you need to update everything related to the inspection done. All the information including date and time. If the tag is filled or all the columns are filled, replace it with a new tag.
How Often Do Fire Extinguishers Need To Be Inspected?
Usually, every extinguisher is inspected after every month or after three months. But the inspection may vary according to the use and the location of fire extinguishers.
Likewise in terms of location, if the location is prone to rust, or tampering then also a monthly inspection is needed. According to the National Fire Protection Association, every extinguisher should be inspected during its first installation and after every month.
What Is The Maintenance Of A Fire Extinguisher?
Maintenance of all those activities which are involved in the inspection process. From checking all the physical damage to ensuring their last date inspection was made.
Everything is involved in maintenance. But for a clear understanding, of the methods of maintenance of a fire extinguisher are written below:
- Monthly inspection– as earlier mentioned that to maintain the extinguisher in a good state monthly inspection is important. In your work area, it becomes necessary that the inspection should take place after every month;
- Testing– every extinguisher needs to be serviced and tested every six years. Because the extinguishers must have been used, or the gauge is not green or in the proper position or the pin has been pulled. If any of these things have happened with your extinguishers, this means that it needs proper maintenance so that they can be used again. Remember that after every 5 years the inspection should be performed by a licensed fire extinguisher maintenance contractor.
Most Common Issues Identified During a Fire Extinguisher Inspection and What to Do
1. Fire extinguisher location obstructed
Problem: The fire extinguisher’s location obstruction means that when you need to have quick access to the extinguisher, some object or furniture comes in the way. This can be dangerous because it may demand time that you don’t have. You need to be quick when it comes to extinguishing the fire.
Solution: The very first thing you should check is the placement of the extinguisher. The statement wants to say that the extinguishers could be placed from where it is easy to access,
it is visible, and unobstructed by anything. Keep it in an area from where you can get it easily and do not keep other things, tools or products in front of it as they might block the path when you want to get it;
2, Cylinder has dents and/or rust
Problem: The cylinder if not maintained can have dents and can consist of some rust on the body which can prevent it from functioning properly.
Solution: Cylinders need to be maintained and kept with care. Note that there is no dent or crack in the body of the cylinder l. The body don, not contain any rust. Keep the cylinder in an empty and dry place. Ensure that there are no physical and visible damages.
Such as a broken seal, locking pin is loose, corrosion, blocked nozzle, or gas leakage, Check the whole body carefully, there should be no dent in the body of the extinguisher, and there should be a cut or hole in the body too;
3. Fire extinguisher overcharged or undercharged
Problem: overcharged fire extinguisher results in leakage of gas or worsen conditions such as an explosion. Undercharged fire extinguishers can also be dangerous or they may not be able to release the gas with a proper force.
Solution: keep the charge of your cylinder as per its demand. Properly charged cylinders can spur the chemical up to 10-12 feet. Which is a decent distance covered by cylinders. If your cylinder is not charged immediately send it to the manufacturer for a substitute.
4. Locking pin missing/broken seal
Problem: The locking pin is removed when you need to use the fire extinguisher cylinder. During training on fire safety, cylinders may lose their locking pins or their seal may break. Seals and locking pins are essential as they prevent accidental pressing on the lever and release of contents in the cylinder.
Solution: If you notice that the locking pin is missing immediately send the cylinder for replacement or get a new pin from the manufacturer. On the other hand, if the seal is broken then you can contact your provider or supplier of a fire extinguisher for a quick replacement.
5. Fire extinguisher not elevated from the floor
Problem: many people keep the extinguishers on the floor itself, mostly those which are big. But this is neither correct nor safe, someone can bump on it which can result in a breakage of the seal or dent on the body.
Solution: Try to hang the extinguishers of small size on the wall 3-5 feet above the floor. You may also use a wooden stand or any other metal stand to keep the cylinder safe and above the floor.
What Are The Main Inspection Points On A Fire Extinguisher?
The main inspection points are discussed above in the section. Every point needs to be read carefully since all are important!.
To discuss short checking the physical damages, placement of the extinguisher, the position of gauge, and availability of gas in proper quantity are the main inspection points on a fire extinguisher.
What Is An ABC Fire Extinguisher?
An ABC Fire Extinguisher is an all-in-one fire extinguisher. It is suitable for all classes of fires, especially A, B, and C. You don’t need to keep different types of extinguishers for different classes of fires. By different classes of fire, we mean that there are 5 classes in which fire extinguishers are divided-
Class A; Class B; Class C; Class D and Class K. Classes A, B, and C are discussed below:-
- Class A– These extinguishers are used for fires that are fueled because of organic combustible materials for example cloth, paper, wood, and plastic. These extinguishers consist of water and other basic liquids.
- Class B– These extinguishers are used for fires that are fueled because of flammable liquids. Like petroleum gases, tars, oil-based solvents and paints, lacquers, alcohol, and flammable gases.
- Class C– These extinguishers are best used for fires caused due to awful wiring, circuit breakage, fault in the machinery and electrical appliances, short circuit in switchboards, etc.
When these extinguishers are grouped, extinguisher A-B-C is made. It is advised to keep A-B-C fire extinguishers in the kitchen along with class K fire extinguishers.
How often should fire extinguishers be checked?
Every extinguisher is inspected after every month or after three months. But the inspection may vary according to the use and the location of fire extinguishers.
What is the OSHA standard for fire extinguishers?
OSHA demands fire-extinguishers to have a minimum rate of 10B and should provide 50 feet of the point of the job site.
It should use 5 gallons of combustible gases or 5 pounds of flammable gas.
What is the Fire Inspection Cost?
Inspection costs vary on the size of the building. The small-sized building may incur a cost of $300-$800, whereas a big-sized building may cost you $600-$6000.
The bottom line is that we need a monthly check-up to keep ourselves healthy and fit. The same applies to all the safety tools, appliances, and devices. They also need an inspection from time to time. Maintenance is very important and no individual should neglect it.
They are safety tools that are for your safety so it is your responsibility to maintain them carefully. In this article, we have tried to cover all the related questions a user might ask. I hope that this article solves all your doubts and queries, till then keep reading!