To keep yourself and others safe from fire hazards, it’s important to have all of your equipment in working condition. That’s why Weber Fire offers safety inspections for your fire extinguishers, to make sure they’re compliant and up to proper standards.
It’s vital that fire extinguishers are kept in working condition. This is why routine fire extinguisher maintenance is required to keep them in ideal shape. Portable fire extinguishers require a yearly maintenance check; carbon dioxide and water-based extinguishers need a hydrostatic test every five years; stored-pressure extinguishers should be checked every six years; and a hydrostatic test should be run every 12 years on pressure and cartridge-operated extinguishers.
Keeping a fire extinguisher recharged or pressurized is an essential condition in owning a home or operating a business. On the off chance that normal fire extinguisher administration and upkeep are not upheld, that extinguisher may not work when you need it most. Regardless of whether the extinguisher has ever been utilized, it ought to be appropriately kept up to guarantee it works when or if a fire could happen. There are a few reasons it is important to remember to keep your fire extinguisher recharged. While a portion of these reasons may appear glaringly evident, a few reasons may not be so apparent. For the most typically used ABC dry compound fire extinguisher, inspection and recharging are required at 6 and 12 years from the date of manufacture, the date recorded on the extinguisher. These examinations are vital, regardless of whether the extinguisher has never been discharged. Always check the fire code for the examination and recharging prerequisites.
What do Weber Fire technicians actually do when it’s time for fire extinguisher service? While only professionals should attempt to service fire extinguishers, let’s take a look at each step of the process. First, the technician carefully inspects the fire extinguisher for damage on all sides, noting any dents, scratches, or wear that could impact the extinguisher’s function. The serial number is noted and compared to the one on record. Next, the gauge is inspected. Does the needle read in the green? Is the tank over or under-pressurized? Improper pressurization is a serious safety concern, as an under-pressurized tank may not function properly or fire at all, while an over-pressurized tank may injure the user or cause damage to itself during operation. What might cause a pressurization issue to occur? The extinguisher could have been improperly filled at the factory, erroneously or partially discharged during a previous emergency, or it could have a leak. Any deviation from 195 PSI could be a sign of trouble, and so the extinguisher must then be recharged.
Next comes the safety pull pin, which should be slotted into the appropriate position at the top of the extinguisher, affixed with a tamper-resistant plastic seal. The pin should slide in and out cleanly and not require undue or significant force to remove. Upon physical inspection, the pull pin should be straight along its length and not have any notable curvature. Once the pin has been removed for inspection, it is reinserted and a new seal is added. After verifying the integrity of the pull pin, the hose is serviced. The technician removes the hose from the tank and inspects it throughout. Is there any wear and tear on the exterior of the hose? Does it bend at extreme angles without cracking or breaking? In the interior, are there any visible blockages from discharge, detritus, or insects? The technician should forcefully blow into the hose and feel for airflow on the opposite end. If the airflow is reduced or obstructed completely, the technician may attempt to remove the blockage by feeding a thin rod down the length of the hose, being careful not to damage the lining. Additionally, the head where the hose attaches to the tank should be inspected for blockages, and when reattaching the hose to the head, the technician ensures the threads are intact and screw together properly.
In the final steps of fire extinguisher service, the technician checks the bottom of the tank for the date of manufacture. As noted above, stored-pressure extinguishers should have six-year checkups, along with a hydrostatic test every twelve years. If those milestones have passed, the technician verifies on both the label and collar that these checkups took place and were recorded. Lastly, the old collar tag is removed and a new one is affixed, asserting that service has taken place.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER RECHARGING
If you were in a public building or workplace and a fire broke out, what is the first object you would look for? Most of us would immediately search for a fire extinguisher. We know most buildings have to display at least one. We pass them multiple times a day when we’re out shopping, working at the office or visiting leisure centers. They’re always there.
But did you know fire extinguishers are only reliable if kept well maintained? Older extinguishers require recharging and, without it, there’s no guarantee they’ll function when they’re needed. It’s why every public building in the state should find a St. Louis fire extinguisher recharge specialist to maintain their devices.
If you own a business, it’s important to be aware of recharging and its purpose. It is an essential part of extinguisher maintenance and, therefore, your responsibility as a provider of safe fire control devices. Ignoring maintenance needs puts the lives of customers and employees at risk.
Why Do Fire Extinguishers Need to Be Recharged?
The common misconception is fire extinguishers need to be recharged only if they have been activated. While it’s true that used devices need to be refilled, aging devices also require attention. The majority of fire extinguishers need a precautionary recharge between six and twelve years after installation. This is the case whether or not they have been used.
One reason for this is gradual depressurization. Over time, gases in a device can escape in small amounts causing the substances inside to become less potent. When a fire breaks out and the emergency extinguisher is desperately needed, you may find its pressure has been lost and only a thin trickle of foam emerges.
This situation can be easily avoided by scheduling maintenance checks with a St. Louis fire extinguisher recharge specialist. When inspecting devices for damage and dysfunction, always look at the pressure gauge. If the gauge’s needle is above or below the ‘safe’ area (usually presented in green) indicated, you need to take it to a recharging expert.
What Happens When a Fire Extinguisher is Recharged?
Firstly, you should not attempt to recharge a fire extinguisher by yourself unless you are qualified to do so. It takes a particular type of skill and trained experts are the only ones who can do it safely. Not only do you risk injury to yourself by recharging a device without the proper training, but you could also cause the extinguisher to malfunction.
To recharge a fire extinguisher, the trained professional first neutralizes the pressure inside the device. The active substance inside is then extracted. The discharge trigger gets lifted away from the outer casing. Following this, the siphon tube, valve spring and valve stem are carefully extracted also.
The recharging professional should inspect and clean (where necessary) each individual component removed from the device. After which, they can scrutinize the inside of the extinguisher for damage and leaks. If no problems are identified and the outer casing is intact, they will replace the valve stem to ensure maximum pressurization when the device is reactivated, ready for use.
Once the new stem is in place, the technician can refill the cylinder with a dousing agent. Some extinguishers use water but, these days, most contemporary devices contain carbon dioxide or an extinguishing dry chemical. The precise volume and weight of this substance will be unique to the type of extinguisher. This is another reason it’s important not to try and handle the job without training.
Finally, the extinguisher is fully re-pressurized using a gaseous substance such as oxygen-free nitrogen or dry air. The unit is pressurized according to its manufacturer’s strict instructions, so the amount of added air or nitrogen is very precise. After the device is pressurized and active, the last task is to conduct an additional leak inspection and replace the discharge nozzle.
In most cases, a recharge note is attached to the extinguisher with pertinent details about the process. The date is the most important addition. It clearly indicates when the device was last inspected and, therefore, when it should be inspected and recharged again.