How Do You Check A Fire Extinguisher?
Although a fire extinguisher may evade our thoughts and the particulars may be a mystery to most, the importance of understanding and maintaining these fire suppressant tools cannot be overstated. Perhaps the most important part of learning about fire extinguishers is the type you have, because several types are manufactured for dealing with fires of different kinds. One should also know how often an extinguisher should be checked and go through maintenance to ensure that it can be used properly when needed most. Finally, it is beneficial to have a checklist prepared to decrease the possibility of misuse or item failure.
The most important step prior to using a fire extinguisher is identifying the type you have, because it could very well not work if this information remains unknown. On the label there is a classification for the types of fires that a particular extinguisher can do what it is designed to do. Each letter designates a type of fire and includes: “A” (wood, cloth, and trash fires), “B” (gasoline, oil, and other flammable liquid fires), “C” (for electrical fires), “D” (combustible metals or alloy fires), and lastly “K” (cooking oil and fat fires). Each of these classes corresponds to an image on the label which can assist in identifying the type of fire extinguisher that you have. If seeking further information regarding types, some quick research can provide information about the different chemicals within each type for a deeper understanding.
While it is crucial to know which type of fire extinguisher you have, it is equally important to maintain the extinguisher. It is advised that it be checked once a year to make sure that the pressure is kept at a working level and also to ensure that the chemicals have not become unusable (as can be a problem with some types). Additionally, if an extinguisher has been used at all then it should be inspected immediately. Aside from these steps, every six years it must be taken apart and inspected by the proper personnel.
When your fire extinguisher has been inspected on schedule and no problems seem to be present it remains important to have a checklist ready so that potential problems will not go unnoticed. This checklist should consist of several steps including: making sure the hose is connected and undamaged, checking for dents or cracks in the canister, making sure the label is present and legible, checking that the pressure gauge is in the green, checking the extinguishers inspection history and initials, and lastly making sure that it is unobstructed and accessible.
When it comes to fire safety a fire extinguisher can be the first line of defense. It is because of this that there are several steps that one should take to ensure that the product works as it was designed to. First you should be aware of the type of extinguisher in your possession and what fire it is capable of putting out. Regular inspection should also be performed by the proper authorities to make sure that it is ready for use, and a prepared checklist can help to maintain both confidence and effectiveness of your fire extinguisher. When it comes to the safety of those around, having the proper equipment and care can help in avoiding disaster.