How Often Should a Fire Extinguisher Be Serviced?
Fire fighting equipment is essential for fire safety and, when used by a trained individual, is highly effective. Like most equipment, fire extinguishers will need regular maintenance to ensure that they are fully functional. Not only might poorly-maintained fire extinguishers fail to operate correctly in the event of a fire, but they also won’t comply with important regulations such as the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, and they could even invalidate your insurance in the event of a fire.
With all of this in mind, the team here at Asco will be taking a look at how often fire extinguishers should be serviced, arming you with the knowledge to make important decisions about your fire safety equipment.
Why do fire extinguishers need to be serviced?
Let’s take a look at why fire extinguishers need to be serviced at all. First and foremost, you need to comply with legislation – such as the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 – but there are a number of different practical reasons for regular servicing too:
Blockages: over time, extinguisher hoses can actually become blocked due to debris or insects becoming lodged in there. This can severely impair the functionality of the fire extinguisher. Similarly, the O-rings can deteriorate over time which can cause the fire extinguisher to not function properly.
Loss of pressure: while high-quality fire extinguishers shouldn’t really suffer from loss of pressure, it can happen. You can normally tell a fire extinguisher has leaked by taking a look at the pressure gauge. However, even pressure gauges can become less reliable over time and should be inspected by a professional.
Damaged labels: fire extinguisher labels provide vital information for users, most importantly pictorial instructions for the correct use and operation of the extinguisher. If the front label becomes worn or damaged, the extinguisher will not comply with legislation (BS EN3-7 Portable Fire Extinguishers – characteristics, performance requirements and test methods.)
Recharging: extinguishers that have been used, even partially, will require recharging. This can be completed during a service.
How often should fire extinguishers be serviced?
The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 states fire extinguishers need to be “maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.” What’s more, the British Standard BS 5306-3 which covers the code of practice for the commissioning and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers, explicitly advises annual servicing and extended services after 5 years (or 10 years for CO₂ extinguishers).
To follow regulations, all fire extinguishers must receive a basic service at least once annually. This should be carried out by a trained professional in accordance with current British Standards. However, if you have had your extinguisher for over 5 years, then it is recommended that they receive an extended service. This will involve the following:
- A service that includes all of the different elements of a basic checkup
- A discharge test
- A valve service or overhaul
- Refilling and repressurising where necessary
For CO₂ extinguishers, given that they are high-pressure cylinders, they are subject to different regulations. They will require an extended service every 10 years, which includes: replacing the main valve, hydrostatic pressure testing of the cylinder body and stamping to indicate the date of the last pressure test. This cannot be carried out at the customer’s premises so usually you will be supplied with a service exchange replacement unit whilst the servicing is underway.
How long do Asco’s fire extinguishers last?
Asco are proud to supply fire extinguishers which are manufactured here in the UK. Our fire extinguishers are guaranteed for a minimum of 5 years, with the Premier range guaranteed for 10 years.
Extended services are usually sufficient to keep fire extinguishers older than 5 years fully operational. However, it is recommended that fire extinguishers should be replaced after five years if they have become damaged or have rusted after being stored outside, being exposed to the elements – this is more likely to occur if you have lesser quality extinguishers.
How long an individual fire extinguisher lasts will largely be down to the quality of the components, the quality of the manufacture, and the quality of the additives within the fire extinguisher. With the high quality, UK manufactured fire extinguishers Asco provides, along with our generous guarantees and a good servicing schedule, you can safely expect your fire extinguishers to serve you for over a decade.
If you’re looking for a leading fire safety provider in Scotland, look no further than Asco. We are BAFE SP101 registered, meaning you can rely on our technicians to carry out competent fire extinguisher servicing. We offer a wide range of services to customers throughout the region, from fire alarm installation and servicing to fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments, so you can rest assured that we can provide a comprehensive package. Get in touch with our knowledgeable team today for more information.