19 Jun How often do fire extinguishers have to be checked?
This is a question we often get asked as there is a lot of uncertainty around how often you should check your fire extinguishers.
Monthly fire extinguisher checks
In order to maintain the reliability of your fire extinguishers they need to be checked regularly. This way you can be sure any potential issues are flagged up before they actually become a problem, keeping you and your people safe.
Your company or organisation should allocate a responsible person or fire warden as the designated person who checks the fire extinguishers in your building.
The responsible person should then carry out monthly checks of the fire extinguishers including:
- The position of the fire extinguishers eg. are they being used to prop open a door
- Whether the signs pointing to the fire extinguishers are clearly visible
- The exterior is not dented or damaged in any way
- The fire extinguisher pressure gauge is still pointing to green ie. it hasn’t been used
These monthly checks should all be recored in a log book, with any concerns or issues being raised and resolved quickly.
Annual fire extinguisher checks
The next check is annual. Every fire extinguisher must receive a basic service annually. This is to be carried out by a competent and trained professional service engineer. The fire extinguishers will be inspected and certified in accordance with British Standards 5306-3:2017.
The annual fire extinguisher inspection will include:
- Any visual signs of damage or corrosion
- Check that the tamper seal is in place
- Check the pressure gauge is working correctly
- Check the extinguisher for the correct pressure
- Check the operating instructions on the extinguisher are clear and easy to read
- Check the discharge hose for any damage, blockages and corrosion
- Replace ‘O’ ring on discharge hose or horn
- Weigh the extinguisher and record information on label
- Clean the extinguisher
- Make sure wall mounting brackets are secure and in a good condition
For businesses, organisations, public buildings and HMOs, it is a legal requirement to ensure all fire extinguishers are serviced every year. Not only will avoiding this annual service leave your people, premises and property at risk, but you will also be liable for a large fine.