Fire Extinguisher Inspection Guide – Fire Prevention Week
The week including October 9th is National Fire Prevention Week – a time to raise awareness and educate around fire prevention. National Fire Prevention Week dates back to the Chicago Fire of 1871, which started on October 8 and killed over 250 people and destroyed more than 17,400 structures. The National Fire Protection Association has sponsored this week since 1922 and has used their resources to educate the community on prevention, evacuation and additional safety measures.
The threat of fire is present in any workplace and is often underestimated until a significant event occurs. One important measure is protecting the workplace from fire damage is proper maintenance of fire extinguishers. Through monthly inspections, you can:
- Ensure the fire extinguishers are present where they’re supposed to be
- Ensure the fire extinguishers are in good condition and ready for use
- Ensure the fire extinguishers do not need any service, maintenance, or annual certification.
OSHA refers to NFPA 10 and its requirement that extinguishers shall be inspected when placed in service and thereafter at approximately 30-day intervals (monthly). So what should you look for when performing an inspection of fire extinguishers?
Fire Extinguisher Inspection Guide
When performing an inspection, follow these steps as a Fire Extinguisher Inspection Guide:
- Make sure the extinguisher is in its designated place, is easily visible, and has unobstructed access for immediate use in case of emergency
- Check that the annual certification tag is present and the fire extinguisher is within its service date interval. Tags indicate the last date of inspection so if a tag is labeled 2018 and the October option is punched or indicated that means it was last inspected in October of 2018 and needs to be re-inspected by a certified testing service by the end of October 2019.
- Check the pressure gauge for damage and that the indicator needle is within the operating (green) range. If the needle is out of the operating range it may indicate a loss of pressure, an equipment failure, or that it has been used.
- Remove the extinguisher from the mounting system to ensure it is easily accessible and that the mounting bracket/system is secure and in good condition.
- Check the extinguisher body and all external metal parts for signs of damage or corrosion. If damage is found remove extinguisher from service and replace. Have extinguisher inspected by certified testing service.
- For dry-powder extinguishers turn the extinguisher upside down and shake to loosen extinguishing media.
- Check to make sure the safety pin is in place and secured with an easily removable retention device, usually a breakaway zip-tie or similar.
- Check the hose and nozzle for damage.
- Check the labels for damage and legibility. The labels should clearly indicate the extinguisher’s size and capability. Ensure the correct fire extinguisher is in the designated location.
- Record the inspection. Most annual certification tags have a grid on the reverse side for this purpose. Record the date of inspection and the initials of the person performing the inspection.
Note: Remember that OSHA prohibits the use of fire extinguishers by anyone that has not been properly trained to use them. Training should be done annually and should also include a periodic practical component to give workers an opportunity to practice actual use.
The observance of National Fire Prevention Week provides a great opportunity to educate employees around fire prevention. Visit the National Fire Prevention Week website to find safety tip sheets, education materials, and additional resources to get started today.
If you have any questions on fire prevention in your workplace, don’t hesitate to reach out to Optimum Safety Management at Info@Optimum-USA.com.