Complying with Local Regulations for Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Whether you’re a commercial property owner, a school superintendent, a homeowner, or a property manager, a fire extinguisher is essential firefighting equipment to have on the premises. The local safety codes and building standards make it mandatory to have this unit installed on every property.¬† After all, it is one of the quickest and simplest ways of safeguarding yourself and others on the premises if there is a fire.

Therefore, as a business owner or manager in Australia, you will want to ensure that all the safety plans and equipment are in compliance with Australian Standards AS 1851 2012. AS 1851 is the Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment guideline.

According to the AS 1851

All Fire Extinguishers installed in buildings, offices, retail stores, warehouses, factories, hotels, etc. must be inspected every six months.

  • The pressure gauge must be checked to see if it is full.
  • Other servicing requirements may be required to be deemed necessary upon inspection.
  • Testing interval to be recorded on a plastic or metal tag and attached to the unit. This shows that the unit is in a serviceable condition.
  • The client must approve all fire extinguisher maintenance work before it is being carried out.

Fire Extinguisher Testing and Maintenance 

Before going for fire extinguisher testing, keep the following points in mind:

Ensure that it is checked by a suitably licensed Fire Protection Company only. This is required at least twice a year. Other times, routine inspections can be carried out by the maintenance staff to ensure that it is in the right working condition.

Most fire extinguishers have a chemical housed inside the canister. Over time the chemical can settle down, therefore disrupting its ability to douse the fire effectively. Consequently, it is essential to give it a shake now and then (once a month or so).

During regular testing, make sure that you ask the fire services professional to check for dents, leaks, wear and tear, cracks, etc. Also, inspect the seals and pins to ensure that they aren’t broken.

Review your workplace and assess the risks to ensure that the fire extinguisher you have is in accordance with the risks and hazards. If the conditions have changed, you might need an upgrade in your fire extinguisher, as the old one may not be useful anymore.

Ensure Proper Placement

The external environment may also impact fire extinguisher performance.  The unit subject to severe and harsh environments may need further testing. That is because conditions like extreme temperature, dust-filled area, prolonged exposure to sunlight, vibration from other machines, etc. may cause the unit to be ineffective. Therefore, if your fire extinguisher is exposed to any such conditions, get it tested regularly.

Fire extinguishers must be emptied and refilled every three to five years, even if it hasn’t been used or has been used only partially. As a manager or the owner of the building or commercial property, it is your legal obligation to adhere to the safety protocols and have all safety equipment in optimum working conditions to ensure the occupants’ safety. Fire extinguisher maintenance and testing at regular intervals is an important step in the direction.