Physical Inspection To Hydrostatic & Refilling The Fire Extinguishers
If you’ve been worried about fire in your home or residence, you likely have already purchased a fire extinguisher. However, buying the fire extinguisher isn’t enough – you have to make sure it’s in proper working order, and it’s best to do so very frequently.
One of the best ways to protect you and your family from a fire is to make sure that your fire extinguishers are in good working order. To do this, you should reach out to a trained professional for some fire extinguisher testing.
Fire Extinguisher Testing
Another great way to protect yourself from fire is to annually get your fire extinguishers tested. Annual fire extinguisher tests should be held by a certified and licensed technician, as they are the ones who are knowledgeable about what to look for. When it comes to your family’s safety, thinking that you have the skills and know-how to test your fire extinguisher can lead to large problems if you’re overestimating your abilities!
Monthly and Annual Checks
Keep in mind that while the fire extinguisher need only be tested by a technician annually, you should reach out to team managers or other team members monthly so that they can visually inspect the fire extinguisher to make sure that the gauge shows that it’s in good standing (in the green) and that the cylinder is in good shape. If there is a problem with either of these, you’ll need to get a new fire extinguisher.
The annual fire extinguisher test will be performed similarly to the monthly check. The licensed professional will visually check the cylinder, check that the cylinder is full/in good standing, and that the status gauge is working correctly.
On top of the monthly and annual tests, it’s highly recommended that you have a more in-depth inspection every six years. This inspection should also be performed by a licensed technician. During this inspection, the technician will check the manufacturing date of the fire extinguisher. If the manufacturing date is over six years, the technician will inform you that that content in the fire extinguisher will need to be emptied. (It’s best to let the professionals handle the disposal since it requires specific handling and disposal techniques.)
Once the contents have been properly disposed of, the technician will then check that the cylinder is still working properly/doesn’t have any obvious or worrisome cracks by wiping it down with soapy water (to see if the water disappears anywhere inside). Once they’ve determined that the cylinder is still safe to use, they will refill it with whatever component is required to be in the fire extinguisher.
(Keep in mind that different fire extinguishers have different contents in them depending on what they’re meant to combat. Some might have foam, some might have powder, and others still might have a more liquid compound. It’s always good to double-check with the technician that they’re replacing the fire extinguisher contents with the right components!)
Once this whole process has been completed, you can feel confident about fighting any potential fires that occur in your home or place of work.
If you happen to have a fire extinguisher that has not been tested, the same process applies. You will reach out to a trained technician for their services, and they will perform a check on your 12-year-old fire extinguisher. During this testing, the fire extinguisher will go through a similar process as if it were a 6-year-old fire extinguisher. However, there is one main difference – the older fire extinguisher will be going for hydrostatic testing, as well.
Hydrostatic testing is where the fire extinguisher will be emptied of its contents, and then the cylinder will be tested between 500-600 psi to ensure that it doesn’t crumple/break/collapse/crack/otherwise become damaged. 500-600 psi is about 2.5 times the usual amount of pressure that a fire extinguisher will go through when it’s in use, so this hydrostatic test is to make sure that the cylinder can be refilled with the proper contents. If the cylinder fails the hydrostatic test, the cylinder will have to be properly recycled, and you’ll need to buy a new fire extinguisher.
However, when it comes to fire extinguishers, other components go into the fire extinguisher to make sure it can work properly. As such, the other components must be checked as well. These are checks that the technician will also do during each fire extinguisher examination.
The purpose of these checks is to guarantee that all the individual mechanisms, hoses, and other components all function properly. At that point, once everything has been checked, the fire extinguisher technician will reassemble the fire extinguisher, check it for leaks (with the soapy water technique mentioned above), and then set it to completely dry before it is re-installed for later use.