New Zealand Standards say that fire extinguishers should be tested at regular intervals to ensure proper function. Here are some guidelines on proper fire extinguisher testing and maintenance.
You should test the fire extinguishers at least once per year as stipulated in NZS 4503-2005. Fire extinguishers should be checked and tested by a licensed fire protection company for accurate results.
Staff should carry out routine quick inspections to ensure that the extinguisher is still in good working order.
You want to ensure extinguishers are always in good working condition and ready for use. You can do this by hiring a professional fire company to perform the maintenance and testing for fire extinguishers.
Many fire extinguishers have chemicals in the canister. Heavy chemicals may settle down in the canister and disrupt the mixture of chemicals in the extinguisher. This, in turn, prevents the extinguisher from being able to put out fires properly. You should give your extinguishers a little shake once a month to keep the chemical mix healthy. Check to see if your extinguishers have a distorted chemical mixture.
Proper fire extinguisher placement should also be considered. Everyone in the building should have access to a fire extinguisher. This is important because, without that access, there’s no point in even having an extinguisher.
Also be sure to check the body of the extinguisher for any dents, leaks, wear and tear, rust, and other issues. Check the pins and seals of the extinguisher to ensure they aren’t broken.
If a fire extinguisher is kept in a harsh environment, then it will likely need more regular inspections and maintenance. For example, if it is kept somewhere, that receives extreme temperatures, high sunlight exposure, vibrations from machines, and a lot of dust. These are all conditions that increase fire extinguisher failure rate. You should be sure to test and maintain extinguishers more often in these cases.
Fire extinguishers must be tested every 12 months. If the extinguisher doesn’t have a pressure gauge, then it should also be weighed to verify it is still full. Certain kinds of fire extinguisher could require extra tasks to be done. Extinguishers should be emptied out, pressure tested and refilled every five years. Some extinguishers may require period servicing every 3, 5, or 6 years as well.
The date and results of tests – as well as the interval between tests – should be marked on the PVC tagged attached to the fire extinguisher.
Outside of that, there is no need for any other work so long as visual inspections of the extinguisher show that the unit is in good work order. The only other time to take action would be if the unit is too light or the gauge indicates that it is under pressure. This extra work is approved by clients before being undertaken by our inspectors. Fire extinguishers should always be refilled as necessary between service, though, even if they are only slightly discharged.
Our Fire Extinguisher Service and Inspection Includes;