Portable fire extinguishers are considered the frontliners against fire. When used properly, they contain fire before it grows uncontrollable. However, they need proper care and maintenance to ensure that they are operable anytime they are needed. Fire extinguishers can last up to five years with proper inspection, testing and maintenance.
Fire extinguishers are installed in accordance with AS 2444, while fire extinguisher servicing should be conducted according to AS 1851-2012 Section 10. This Australian Standard outlines the fire extinguisher testing requirements.
A fire extinguisher is marked with a classification and rating in accordance with AS/NZS 1850:2009 that indicates the class and size of the fire for which the extinguisher has been tested on to comply with Australian Standards.
When selecting an extinguisher for a building or area of a building, its capacity to extinguish the anticipated type and size should be considered.
In a building or property where there are more than 10 extinguishers installed, a site plan or an evacuation plan must clearly indicate the location and description of the fire extinguishers.
Furthermore, a maintenance record system should be kept by the property owner or occupier, so that fire extinguisher testing and maintenance can be conducted accordingly.
When the inspection is completed, a written report shall be provided to the owner of the equipment. This report must include any failures or discrepancy found within the location, type, size, rating or identification mark.
The maintenance record tag or label must show the service interval completed for maintenance purposes. It should not indicate any other information. A 6-monthly service is denoted by the number “1”; an annual service is denoted by the number “2”; and a 5-yearly service is dexisting one. The final year and last hydrostatic test date should be transferred from the expired tag/label to the new tag/label in the pressure test column at the corresponding year when providing a new maintenance record tag/label.
Extinguishers installed in an aggressive environment or exposed to elements shall be subjected to a more intensive or comprehensive maintenance program through conducting the five-yearly inspection, test and preventive maintenance every three years.
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The level of inspection, test, preventive maintenance and survey routine conducted shall be permanently marked on the tag or label in the box corresponding to the year and month in which the services were carried out.
The start of the maintenance schedule must be based on the pressure test at the time of manufacture of the extinguisher, or month and year of the last pressure test, whichever is the later. If the manufacture or pressure test date is illegible or unknown, a five yearly maintenance procedure shall be carried out.
Fire extinguishers should be tested and tagged every 6 months upon installation.
Labels are attached to the back of the extinguisher cylinder with additional labels located next to the