Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance 101

Bison Fire's Extinguisher Maintenance 101

If you run a business in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, then it’s likely that you already know how important it is to ensure that your fire extinguishers are properly maintained.

However, if you’ve never had to use your fire extinguishers before, then it’s possible that you’ve had the same fire extinguisher for a number of years.

So this begs the all-important question: how long will those portable fire extinguishers last before they have to be replaced?

Have You Been Maintaining Your Extinguisher?

One of the more important aspects of making sure your portable fire extinguisher will always work when you need it most is to make sure that you don’t neglect your fire extinguisher maintenance.

If you’ve had the same fire extinguisher for a while (10 - 12 years, for example) one way to test its current condition is to have it hydrostatically tested. Hydrostatic tests expose your fire extinguisher to high pressure, typically around 500psi, which tests the integrity of the shell.

If the shell holds up, then you can confidently keep your current fire extinguisher for a few more years before it needs to be replaced.

What Can Go Wrong With Your Fire Extinguisher?

Some of the most common problems with portable fire extinguishers include:

  • A crack has caused compressed air to escape. Weakened seals around the neck of your fire extinguisher may have allowed compressed air to escape, which can prevent the extinguisher from working properly.
  • The chemical powder has become packed-down. If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, there’s a chance that the chemical powder may have become packed down and compressed. If this happens, you’ll need expert assistance to empty and recharge the extinguisher.

Are You Worried About the Integrity of Your Fire Extinguisher?

If you’re worried about the integrity of your fire extinguisher, there are a few common warning signs that you can look for in order to determine if servicing is needed. These include:

  • The safety pin is missing, or unsealed.
  • The fire extinguisher hose or nozzle is clogged, ripped, or cracked.
  • The handle is wobbly, or broken.
  • The most recent inspection tag is missing.

How to Safely Dispose of a Fire Extinguisher

Because fire extinguishers are kept under pressure and filled with chemicals, they can’t just be thrown in the trash if they are no longer safe or fit for use.

Below are the steps you need to know in order to safely dispose of your portable fire extinguisher:

  • Call the fire department to see if they will take your extinguisher and recharge or replace it.
  • If the fire department won’t take it, then you need to deposit your fire extinguisher at your closest hazardous waste disposal facility.

If your fire extinguisher is empty:

  • Start by squeezing the lever to make sure that all the extinguishant has been released.
  • Remove the fire extinguisher head so it’s clear that the contents have been removed.
  • Take the steel fire extinguisher to your closest recycling facility, or dispose of the empty canister in your recycling bin.

By properly taking care of your fire extinguisher you can ensure that your home or business is well-protected from fires for years to come.

If you operate a business in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Saskatoon, or Regina and are looking to know more about how to protect your investment from fire damage, contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection by calling 866-441-3473 today to schedule an appointment with a fire safety experts.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:17 PM

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