Fire Extinguisher Maintenance – A Critical Life Safety Component
Properly maintaining fire extinguishers is critical. Per OSHA requirements, you must perform monthly inspections to ensure fire extinguishers are properly charged and certified. In addition, you must ensure each fire extinguisher is mounted at 48” to comply with the American Disabilities act, that the wall hanger is secure and that there are no obstructions. All extinguishers must be clearly visible and accessible.
All public entities must undergo annual testing on all fire extinguishers located in their buildings. In
most states, this annual service must be performed by a licensed technician that works for a company that is licensed by the State Fire Marshal. Life Safety Technicians must participate in continuing education and pass mandated tests in order to obtain their licenses, therefore, they have the knowledge, experience and expertise to make sure fire extinguishers are in proper working order.
If you ever view a fire extinguisher and find tags attached, this means they likely have been serviced properly. These tags indicate the fire extinguisher was inspected. This information can provide owners and occupants critical information regarding the maintenance of their fire extinguishers.
Fire extinguishers are more complicated than most people realize. They require major service (basically an overhaul) at least every 6 years. That is why it is important to find a professional to conduct regular inspections, recharge and testing on fire extinguishers. These professionals look for a number of things when conducting annual inspections. Annual inspections will examine whether there was any tampering or signs of damage to the fire extinguisher which could result in it not working properly. Also, these inspections will look for the correct pressure which is a necessary component of a properly working fire extinguisher. In addition, professionals are able to check whether there is the proper amount of the
extinguishing agent inside.
In addition to fire extinguishers, it is critical to make sure your emergency lighting system that provides illumination for your path of egress is in proper working order. These systems contain rechargeable batteries that need to be replaced periodically in order to work as required. In an emergency where power is lost, emergency lighting is supposed to guide you to a safe exit for up to 90 minutes.
Bottom line – all fire safety systems are critical and need to be maintained regularly in order to be effective. Fire Extinguishers, Emergency Lighting, Fire Alarm Systems and Fire Sprinkler Systems must be serviced at least annually by a licensed & trained fire safety professional.
Research and contact a local fire safety professional today to ensure your facility is prepared in case a fire emergency happens!
NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist
City Wide Fire Protection Services
2919 W. Irving Park Rd. | Chicago, IL 60618