An essential part of fire protection and safety is making sure that all your measures for fighting and preventing fires are in good working conditions. This statement is particularly true for commercial and office buildings, where more people will be significantly impacted by the efficiency of your fire safety measures. Thus, you need to keep fire extinguisher maintenance a top priority.

Fire extinguishers are a very critical factor in your fire protection and safety plan. From making sure your fire extinguisher recharge is complete to placing them strategically throughout your property to proper fire extinguisher maintenance – how much thought do you put into making sure that this important equipment is in excellent condition?

How Do Fire Extinguishers Work?

Fire extinguishers are an essential fire prevention device. To better understand the maintenance demands of fire extinguishers, it’s good to have a basic knowledge of how they work. Some general facts about them are:

The three types of extinguishers are dry chemical, carbon, and carbon dioxide.

Fire extinguishers come in a variety of classifications: for paper and wood products, flammable metas, electrical devices, cooking products, and other flammable liquids.

Each type of fire extinguisher makes use of high pressure to discharge the contents out onto the flames. They have a safety pin that keeps them from accidental discharge and is made from steel cases. The nozzle part makes sure that the aim is more accurate as the handle is squeezed to eject the contents onto the flames.

How To Do a Fire Extinguisher Recharge

Get professionals to inspect your fire extinguishers

First of all, fire extinguisher maintenance involves recharging the equipment do need to be recharged. Several scenarios require this maintenance for a fire extinguisher: 1) if it has been used to put out a small fire; 2) if it has been recharged recently for testing; 3) if it has been recharged accidentally.

It’s critical to know what type of fire extinguisher you have so the professionals such as your local fire department or fire suppression specialists know what device they need to recharge the fire protection equipment.

Apart from the required fire extinguisher recharge service, they will also check the different parts of the unit such as the safety pin, handle, and hose; they will clean these components as needed as well.

Finally, the recharging process entails refilling the unit with the same contents is necessary for that type of extinguisher, and up to the specified required extent of pressure, as stated on the gauge. Remember to secure the designated case back properly, so it’s ready for use when needed.

Does the Fire Extinguisher Need a Recharge Every Year?

Regularly check your fire extinguishers

Check fire extinguishers regularly

There’s an annual inspection required by code when it comes to fire extinguishers. However, recharging is not necessarily part or expected of that service. Of course, there are a few exceptions. A majority of fire extinguishers call for testing or internal maintenance once every five years. As for the external maintenance, it’s needed more frequently, unless there are visible cracks or damages on the shell.

If perhaps you’ve had your fire extinguishers serviced annually and you think it has always involved recharging. Here are the possible scenarios:

Your fire extinguisher might have been tampered with or vandalized. This is a likely occurrence in cases where the fire extinguishers are located in unsupervised areas and accessible to the public. However, the inspections once a month should show the requirement for a recharge in cases like this.

Your fire extinguisher is subject to damage. Warehouses and industrial spaces with massive forklift operations that involve the transport of fire extinguisher would be a good example. Depending on the extent of the damage on the fire extinguisher, recharge may be needed to restore it to functioning order. Again though, the monthly inspections should make this need evident even before the annual schedule rolls around.

Part of fire extinguisher maintenance is an annual recharge. However, this may be the case if you have multiple units. And in this scenario, it would be unlikely for at least a few of the fire extinguishers to be scheduled for testing or internal maintenance in any given year.

Your service company’s practice entails recharging all fire extinguishers every year – which is not good practice!

When Does It Need to Be Recharged?

Fire extinguishers need to be recharged immediately after using it – even if it has only been partly discharged. A discharge, even if it’s only partial, will disturb the pressure seal and let the residual excellent gas charge to get out; otherwise, the extinguisher is useless unless it’s recharged.