Testing the fire extinguisher, be it at home or in the workplace is an essential task and not optional. This is because fire extinguisher testing is not only a legal requirement but is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the fire extinguishers considering how crucial its function is. This tool is what we use to put off the small fire before it goes beyond control and cause more damages to life and properties. If the fire extinguisher in your place does not work when it’s needed because of failure to test and maintain the tool, then you are surely bound to suffer from your lack of regard to it.
But just how often should one subject his fire extinguishers for testing and maintenance? The answer is it varies to state rules and policies on fire safety. However, generally, fire extinguishers should be tested upon its delivery, and monthly onsite by a designated person, and annually. One has to take note that post-delivery testing is essential because transit may have caused damages to the tool. When proper maintenance is performed and done on time, a fire extinguisher should last up to 5 to 15 years before replacement is needed.
A lot of people ask if whether only certified personnel are allowed to perform extinguisher test all the time. This has been a concern since hiring a trained personnel for the job means an added expense of your pocket. The onsite test can be done by a representative from the company from which you have purchased your extinguisher. Monthly testing, on the other hand, should be performed by a designated person who knows just what to look for. There are no special training required from this person, but for the annual extinguisher test, it must be done by a certified and trained personnel. This is the time when you would probably be required to hire one.
And so what are the things that need to be looked into when doing fire extinguisher testing? Start inspecting with its interior. There should be no visible signs of damage, and wear and tear. The tool has its own pressure gauge and sees to it that the needle pointed in the green zone. The anti-tamper seal should also be in place and intact. It is also important for the extinguisher to be properly and appropriately labeled. The operating instruction should also be clearly indicated. Also, see to it that the extinguisher is strategically located and easily visible and accessible during emergency use.
But aside from the regular schedule of extinguisher test, you may also have it inspected or replaced when you see any of the following irregularities: if any part of the extinguisher is damaged such as the hose, and if the nozzle is blocked, cracked or ripped, if the handle is unstable, or if there are missing locking pin and if the seal tampers. Missing or unreadable labels also merit replacement. And if the gauge is outside of the green zone, then it must be replaced at once.
With all the advantages of having your fire extinguishers tested and maintained, there is no reason for you to neglect this crucial maintenance activity as the repercussions of doing so could be disastrous. Extinguisher testing is easy to do but this simple activity can truly go a long way in ensuring the effectiveness of your fire extinguishers at all times.