Sometimes home or business owners forget all about their fire extinguishers until there's an emergency to scramble for it. Others only mind about fulfilling state regulations that require them to have an extinguisher in their premises, forgetting that it's not all about fulfilling the law; it's more about ensuring maximum preparedness for any fire outbreak. Your fire extinguisher can be that life or property saver in an unexpected emergency. This is why regular maintenance is needed to keep it functioning well. Here is how you can ensure this:
Basic monthly inspections
This involves making regular checks on the fire extinguisher to ascertain its working condition. You don't need a technician for these simple inspections since you can do the checks at least once in a month. During inspections ensure that the fire extinguisher isn't obstructed by anything that could hinder its use during an emergency. Also ensure that the pressure is at its normal point, i.e. for those fitted with a gauge, the needle must be in the green zone. Additionally, ensure that the pin and tamper seals are unbroken and together. If you realize that there's something that requires a technician, then contact your supplier.
Maintenance by a technician
For the fire extinguisher to be very effective during the times of need, it has to be maintained by a technician from the fire extinguisher supplying company annually. During maintenance, thorough checks must be carried out on the extinguisher for any faults that might make it defunct and fail to work in case of a fire outbreak. If any faults are discovered, the technician will fix or repair them, replace the extinguisher or recharge it.
Discharge testing and extended servicing
This involves the technician activating the fire extinguisher to assess if it is working as intended. This is known as the discharge test. If the fire extinguisher passes this test, it will be refilled and then its operational service will be extended for another period of time as written on its label. If an extinguisher fails the discharge test, it will be taken away for destruction and a new one will be put in place. Discharge testing and service extension must be done every five years.
It's high time that you stop ignoring your fire extinguisher in case you have been doing so. The reason for this is that after a long time without servicing it, it may fail to activate during a fire outbreak, which you can think of as an act of betrayal. But you can avoid all this by following the above recommendations. It's like a mutual benefit, you look after it now, and it rescue you in the future – very simple.