Wednesday, October 03, 2018

The Basics of Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Inspections

Bison Fire's Basics of a Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher

When was the last time you had your dry chemical fire extinguisher inspected?

A fire extinguisher that hasn’t been well-maintained is more dangerous than not having a fire extinguisher at all, as the valuable seconds you may spend trying to get it to work might literally mean the difference between life and death.

This is why fire extinguisher maintenance is so important - but it’s critical that your inspections and maintenance are done correctly.

Below is a comprehensive overview of what your fire protection expert should do in order to perform a thorough inspection on your dry chemical fire extinguisher.

The Visual Inspection

The first step to assessing your fire extinguisher is to do a visual inspection. They’ll begin by making sure that the pressure gauge is in the green zone, and will often wipe the fire extinguisher with a cloth to check for dents, rust, and any other damage on the shell of the extinguisher.

The next step is to remove the hose and blow air through it in order to ensure that there’s no dust present in the tube. Afterward the handle, pull pin, and valve head assembly will be assessed in order to ensure that everything is in place and nothing like the pull pin is missing or damaged.

Your inspector will also check the instruction-nameplate, which must be in place and easily readable, as it contains all the important information about your extinguisher, including:

  • Letters and pictures of the classes of fires the extinguisher can extinguish.
  • The rating number which indicates extinguishing capability.
  • Details on how much dry chemical should be in the extinguisher.
  • Temperatures at which the extinguisher will operate.

Hydrostatic Testing

A hydrostatic test is something we’ve discussed here on the Bison Fire Protection blog before, but to quickly recap, your fire extinguisher is pressurized to test pressure and make sure that there are no hairline cracks or pinhole heals, and that the cylinder can maintain pressure without cracking and breaking.

Once the test is complete, the extinguisher will need to be dried out and updated with a test sticker to indicate that it has been tested.

The Six-Year Teardown

A six-year teardown is also often referred to as an “internal inspection.” The extinguisher will be broken down and completely emptied of the dry chemical powder.

At this point all of the components will be cleaned, any defective parts will be replaced, and the fire extinguisher will be reassembled.

Why a Gross Weight Check Matters

The final step to a comprehensive dry chemical fire extinguisher inspection will be to weigh the fully charged extinguisher.

This is referred to as the “gross weight check” because it takes into account the entire unit: hose, nozzle, pin, tamper seal, valve head, and of course the dry chemical component as well. For reference, a 5lb ABC fire extinguisher will sometimes display instructions that read like this:

“Fill with five pounds of ABC dry chemical for a gross weight of 8 lbs. 5 oz +- 8 oz.”

This means that the lowest gross weight the fire extinguisher can have is 7lbs, 13oz. Any lighter will mean that the inspector didn’t top up the dry chemical, or may not have used a scale. This is why it’s critical to work with trained experts like the technicians at Bison Fire Protection to ensure that your dry chemical fire extinguishers are always well-maintained and ready to be used at a moment’s notice.

If you operate a business in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Saskatoon, or Regina and are looking to know more about how to make sure your dry chemical fire extinguishers are properly maintained, contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection by calling 866-441-3473 or email at info@bisonfire.com today and we’ll visit your business to provide a thorough assessment.

Posted by Rob Read at 9:41 AM

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