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Fire Extinguisher Inspection

Inspection and Maintenance of Fire Extinguishers

Adequate maintenance of fire extinguishers consists of periodically inspecting each extinguisher, recharging each extinguisher following discharge and performing hydro-testing as needed.

An inspection is a quick visual check that visually determines whether the fire extinguisher is properly placed and will operate. Its purpose is to give reasonable assurance that the extinguisher is fully charged and will function effectively if needed.

In order to be effective, inspections must be frequent, regular and thorough. Maintenance, as distinguished from inspection, means a complete and thorough examination of each extinguisher.

A maintenance check involves examining all its parts, cleaning and replacing any defective parts and reassembling, recharging and where appropriate, pressurizing the extinguisher. Maintenance should be performed periodically, but at least once every year, after each use, or when an inspection shows that need for maintenance is obvious.

Dry Chemical Extinguishers

Dry chemical extinguishers should be inspected monthly and should undergo normal annual maintenance. The quantity of agent for a cartridge-operated model can be checked by weighing, or by removing the fill cap and checking it visually.

The gas cartridge may be checked by weighing. On stored-pressure models, the pressure gauge will indicate if adequate pressure is maintained and the agent quantity can be checked by weighing.

Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers

Weighing is the only way to determine whether carbon dioxide extinguishers are full charged. They should be weighed at least semiannually for loss of weight and inspected for deterioration and/or physical damage.

Although fire extinguishers can hold their charge indefinitely, they can malfunction. Therefore, regulations require they be hydrotested every so often.

The purpose of hydrostatic testing of portable fire extinguishers that are subject to internal pressures is to protect against unexpected, in-service failure. This failure may be due to undetected internal corrosion caused by moisture in the extinguisher; external corrosion caused by atmospheric humidity or corrosive vapors; damage caused by rough handling, repeated pressurizations, manufacturing flaws in the construction of the extinguisher; improper assembly of valves or safety relief discs; or exposure of the extinguisher to abnormal heat, as during a fire.

ABC ExtinguishersHydrotest every 12 years
Maintenance (internal) every 6 years
CO2 Extinguishers Hydrotest every 5 years

UWO Custodial Services maintains all campus extinguishers to these standards.

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