Studies show that there are roughly $7 billion in property damages a year due to fires.
These fires also cause an average of 2.5 annual deaths and 9.8 injuries.
With fires being such a huge threat, understanding your routine fire extinguisher maintenance is critical.
Your fire extinguisher is usually your first line of defense in fighting a fire or preventing it from becoming too severe.
If you’re curious about fire safety in your commercial property or home, we’re here to offer our guidance.
Read on to learn about how to inspect your fire extinguisher and when to schedule professional maintenance.
We’ll also look at some of the different types of extinguishers and how to maintain these special items.
Consequences of No Maintenance
To start, what are the consequences of not performing your fire extinguisher inspections?
There are severe results of a failing fire extinguisher, which can make a bad situation become deadly.
Here are the primary consequences.
Failure to Discharge
The most obvious problem is that your fire extinguisher may fail to discharge when you go to use it.
“Failure to discharge” means that when you use the fire extinguisher, nothing comes out.
The majority of fire extinguishers work by discharging either a wet or dry chemical base.
These contents can vary, but they all work by smothering a fire to separate it from the oxygen that’s fueling it.
If your fire extinguisher cannot discharge, it’s useless.
Ensure you’re inspecting your extinguisher so that you still have one when the time comes.
Falling Out of Code
If you own a commercial property, one of the most important factors of maintenance is keeping your fire safety equipment in code.
Codes are guidelines on what regulations you need to follow as a property owner.
Many of these codes focus on safety and fire safety most of all.
These can include making sure your property isn’t overcrowded, that there are ample exits, and more.
Some codes focus on your fire extinguishers.
These codes will require a certain number of extinguishers, a timeline of maintenance, and when one needs replacing.
Failure to follow these codes can lead to fines or infractions.
In severe cases, a fire department has the power to close your commercial property until adjustments are made.
You can avoid these issues by performing regular maintenance.
We also suggest you familiarize yourself with the codes so you know what guidelines to follow.
If you’re finding extinguishers for your personal home, then codes aren’t quite as critical.
However, don’t let a lack of commercial coding stop you from practicing regular safety and fire maintenance.
Finally, one issue that maintenance can help you avoid is unseen damage.
It’s not uncommon for fire extinguishers to weather or crack over the years.
The older a fire extinguisher is, the more likely this becomes.
Inspecting your fire extinguisher can help you find damage before it’s too late.
Large cracks in the body of your extinguisher can cause a failure to discharge.
Other types of damage can also render your extinguisher useless.
Steps to Routine Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
Now that we understand the consequences of failing to maintain your extinguisher, how do you perform inspections?
Our first suggestion is to contact a professional inspector.
It’s easy for someone who isn’t educated on fire safety to miss important details during a “DIY” inspection.
Professionals also know what codes need to be followed and can ensure your extinguishers follow those codes.
Such knowledge can save you the hassle of breaking codes and your property.
At Certizona Fire & Safety, we’re experts in ensuring your properties are up to snuff for safety.
Contact us to schedule fire extinguisher maintenance so you can rest knowing your property is safe.
Check for Damage
The first step of a fire extinguisher inspection is the visual inspection.
During this step, your technician will look for any visual damage that’s plain to see.
Visual damage may include cracks in the body or other physical issues.
Another common problem is with the hose or handle.
If there’s severe damage, a replacement is almost always the safest bet.
Otherwise, the damage may not be severe enough to require action.
Regardless of the visual state of your extinguisher, it may fail to discharge.
As such, your technician will ensure the extinguisher can still do so.
Once they’ve discharged, your technician will clean up and dispose of the chemicals.
Afterward, they’ll recharge the fire extinguisher, if possible.
How Often to Inspect
Fire extinguishers have two main periods when they’ll need an inspection.
The first is a six-year inspection, which includes a more thorough look.
These inspections will investigate the internal systems and ensure the extinguisher still functions.
A twelve-year inspection is the technical follow-up to the six-year.
The same steps are taken, but there’s special care taken to see if the extinguisher needs removing.
On the more frequent side, there are also annual fire extinguisher inspections.
These are required every 12 months per the NFPA 10 regulation and ensure fire extinguishers are safe.
When to Replace
You should replace your fire extinguisher if there is any sign of the extinguisher not working.
If it fails to discharge, for example, you should replace it immediately.
Physical damage is also a sign that it’s safer to replace the extinguisher.
You can schedule your inspections to make sure no damage is falling off your radar.
One important note is that inspections pertain to rechargeable fire extinguishers.
Some fire extinguishers are not rechargeable and are instead disposed of once you’ve used them.
These extinguishers are not inspected, as they’re meant for a more short-term fix.
You may find these in a home or in some smaller Arizona businesses.
Passing Fire Extinguisher Inspections
Routine fire extinguisher maintenance helps ensure that your fire extinguisher is functioning and ready to help you in an emergency.
If you fail to have your extinguishers inspected, you could find yourself helpless when fire safety becomes critical.
At Certizona Fire & Safety, we have the expertise needed to keep your property safe.
Contact us to schedule an inspection or to discuss your property’s compliance.
Looking for a fire extinguisher inspector near me? Routine maintenance is key to emergency readiness. Certizona Fire & Safety is here to serve you with high-quality fire protection and safety equipment services! Customer satisfaction is our top priority. Call (623) 227-2092 or request an online quote today!