Learn More About the Proper Care and Feeding of Your Fire Extinguishers

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If you run a business, you probably know how important it is to have a good plan for fire prevention and suppression. This importance is increased when the business in question is a restaurant. An estimated $246 million in property damage is caused every year by fires in restaurants and other dining establishments. There are an estimated 8,000 fires in commercial kitchens every year in the United States. At least 57% of these fires are caused by the cooking equipment itself. Fire extinguishers are a big part of any fire protection plan. Fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance are incredibly important for the safety of your business.

Tips to Keeping Your Business Safe from Fire:

Keep to the right schedule for your fire extinguisher inspections. It is not enough to have a great fire extinguishers installed is not enough. You need to have them inspected.

  • Monthly inspections: You need to conduct monthly fire extinguisher inspections on your portable units. You need to check them for any broken seals, other damage, make sure they are at the right pressure, look over the nozzle and hose for undue wear and tear and document any of your findings and when you did the inspection. f your fire extinguishers are in severe conditions, you should conduct your fire extinguisher inspections more frequently.
  • At the six month mark: If you have an automatic fire extinguisher system, you need to have a fire extinguisher services company come in twice a year to do a professional inspection.
  • Annual fire extinguisher inspections: Once every 12 months, you need to have your fire extinguishers inspected by professionals. Again, they need to be checked to make sure the pressure is correct, that there is no visible damage and they need to be weighed. These fire extinguisher inspections also should include checking the seal and the pin. If any of your fire extinguishers are not able to pass any of the tests to which they are subjected, they need to be replaced.
  • The five year inspection point: If you have fire extinguishers that are filled with carbon dioxide, they need to undergo an inspection and hydrostatic testing every five years.
  • The six year fire extinguisher inspections: This is more of an inspection and maintenance check point. At the six year mark, your fire extinguishers need to be emptied and then refilled. The fire extinguisher inspections that happen at this point look at the interior and exterior of the units. These need to be done, like clockwork, every six years.
  • The 12 year inspection: If your fire extinguishers have dry chemicals or Halon, you need to have hydrostatic fire extinguisher inspections done every 12 years.
  • How You Need to Conduct Your Fire Extinguisher Inspections:

This is not a hard process and does not take a lot of time. You need to make sure nothing is blocking your fire extinguishers. You need nothing to be placed in a position to make it hard for your employees to get to the fire extinguishers when they need them. Check the pressure level and look over the hose and the nozzle for any visible damage.

Fire Extinguishers Need Maintenance:

There are different things that are needed by different fire extinguishers. You should have received instructions or have them from the manufacturer. Most have the maintenance instructions on the label. Some need to be shaken on a monthly basis to keep the chemicals inside from settling to the bottom of the unit.

The label should also tell you how often you need to check the pressure. There is a gauge on the fire extinguisher that should show where the pressure is and where it should be. These are pretty self explanatory. If there is no information on the fire extinguisher, you should contact the manufacturer about this. You should conduct hydrostatic testing as is recommended by the manufacturer.

If you have any reason to use your fire extinguisher, you need to perform a fire extinguisher recharge. It does not matter if you only used a tiny bit of the fire extinguisher material. Whenever it is used, it needs to be recharged.

It is important to keep your fire extinguishers properly maintained and inspected but is not a process that is time intensive or difficult.

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