Keeping fire extinguishers on hand is important to prevent fires in homes and businesses. Having the fire extinguisher present, however, is not enough. It is also essential that you keep fire extinguishers maintained properly. This quick guide will provide you with some information on to maintain a fire extinguisher.
Fire Extinguisher Facts To Know
Having some working knowledge of fire extinguishers is important to ensure that you have the right equipment for your needs. You should be aware that the USFA has determined that the following types of fire extinguishers are to be used on the following types of blazes:
- Ordinary materials (Class A)
- Flammable liquids (Class B)
- Appliance, electrical (Class C)
- Metals (Class D)
- Cooking oils (Class K)
Fire extinguishers that can be used on different types of blazes will be labeled accordingly.
Inspecting Your Extinguishers
One of the first steps in proper fire extinguisher maintenance will be regular inspections. Inspecting the extinguishers on a regular schedule will help ensure they are in proper working order. You should follow the manual that came with the extinguisher to familiarize yourself with the parts of the device.
During an inspection, you should make sure of the following items:
- There is easy access to the device, and it is easy to retrieve.
- Check the pressure. The pressure gauge will let you know if the device is in proper pressure for use.
- Check for physical damage to the device. If the device has visible dents, rust, or damage, you should replace it as soon as possible.
- Make notes of the dates of inspection on the device itself.
Cleaning the Extinguisher
The device will need to be cleaned periodically. Start by checking for dust, oil, or grease. Clean it away. This type of debris could make the device difficult to use properly in the event of a fire. Handle the device carefully to ensure you do not discharge it by mistake.
The USFA also recommends that fire extinguishers are shaken monthly. You should also consider having a pressure test done once every few years.
Fire Extinguisher Expiration
Another important part of maintaining a fire extinguisher is carefully checking the expiration dates for devices. If your fire extinguishers have passed their expiration date, you will need to replace them with new ones. This is a crucial part of your fire safety plan and cannot be overlooked. Having outdated fire extinguishers on the property could also affect property insurance and result in liability on your part if there is a fire.
It is estimated that most quality extinguishers can last from 5 to 15 years. However, you need to be aware of exactly how long your extinguishers have before expiration to avoid liability and fire damage.
Keeping your extinguishers cleaned and properly maintained will help to ensure that you have the right tools to combat blazes within the structure should they break out. Addressing a blaze with this first line of defense can often deter larger amounts of fire damage and injuries to those within the structure.
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