Fire extinguishers play a fundamental part in minimising the effects fire can cause – but only if you ensure they’re adequately maintained and appropriately used.
So, in case you’re unfamiliar with them, here are five facts you need to know about when it comes to your business’ fire extinguishers.
Whether a small amount of extinguishing agent accidentally discharged or you actively released some to fight a fire, always top up what’s been used for when it’s next needed.
It might seem trivial at the time but, in reality, that top up could actually save a life, so make it your priority to act promptly.
Fire extinguishers don’t last forever. That’s not to say they have an expiration date, but you can’t simply purchase one, put it out and then push it to the back of your mind.
To keep your business, your employees and your visitors safe, it’s really important that you have – and stick to! – a robust maintenance ritual (we’ll cover what this is in more detail in point four), and remember:
|Re-chargeable canisters||Must pass a hydro test every 12 years to remain in use.|
|Disposable extinguishers||Must be replaced every 12 years.|
There are five different types of fire extinguishers: water, foam spray, CO2, ABC powder and wet chemical. But the variation doesn’t stop there. There are different types of fires, too:
With those distinctions in mind, it’s important that the fire extinguishers fitted in your premises fulfil the needs of the types of fires that have the potential to occur.
It’s really important that you stick to regular visual and physical inspections of your fire extinguishers.
Physical inspections: your fire extinguishers should be serviced once a year by a qualified and experienced technician. During this, they’ll look out for things like:
They should also inform you of any deficiencies, recommend remedial work, and provide you with a certificate so that you can demonstrate compliance to enforcing authorities – should you need to.
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Only trained and competent people should operate a fire extinguisher, and when they do, P.A.S.S should be at the forefront of their mind:
Even if you’re competent and trained to use a fire extinguisher, if you don’t feel comfortable tackling the situation at hand, don’t – and that message applies to anyone who’s authorised to act in the event if a fire.
Some common causes for discomfort include fires that are larger than the size of a paper bin, and occasions where the contents of the bin is unknown – i.e. could there be an aerosol in it?
If you missed it earlier up in the post, we do provide Fire Extinguisher Servicing to take the weight off your shoulders. For more information on how we can help you and your business, simply speak to our Additional Services Team on 0345 241 5250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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