Fire damage can be highly catastrophic. Many lives are lost every year due to fire. Apart from that, the ruin caused to property is quite massive. Therefore, it is important to safeguard yourself, your family and your home against fire hazards.
While installing smoke and fire alarms is one of the primary precautionary measures to detect and prevent a fire accident, a fire extinguisher also plays a crucial role. A fire extinguisher can come in handy while putting out fires. Therefore, the requirement for portable fire extinguishers has increased considerably.
However, for a fire extinguisher to work, it is important to maintain it. Your fire extinguisher will be of no value if it is not in a properly working condition. Therefore, monthly inspection and maintenance are necessary. The good news is, the process is easy and you can do it yourself. Following are a few things to check while inspecting your fire extinguisher.
The first thing that you need to check while inspecting your fire extinguisher is the seal. The pull pin should be tightly secured with the handle. If your fire extinguisher has a tamper seal, ensure that this is unbroken. Check for any signs of tampering. If you detect any, you should immediately get it replaced.
The fire extinguishing substance that is stored inside the thick steel canister of the fire extinguisher is kept under a large amount of pressure exerted by a compressed gas. When the seal is broken, the gas expands and expels the fire-fighting substance which douses the fire. Unless the pressure is correct, the effect would not be enough to extinguish the fire.
Therefore, while inspecting, you should check the dial reading for the pressure. Ensure that the needle of the dial points to the green section since this indicates the right pressure. If your fire extinguisher is equipped with a test indicator, you can press it to check whether the pressure of the gas is within the correct range.
Contents of the Fire Extinguisher
While dry chemical fire extinguishers are quite convenient, there is one major problem with these. The powdered chemical tends to settle down at the bottom and gets packed. As a result, it does not get expelled when the seal is broken. If your fire extinguisher is of a similar kind, you should give it a good shake once in a month to prevent settling of the powder.
Check the Parts
A thorough inspection of the fire extinguishers is mandatory. You should check whether the nozzle, handle and the hose are in place and that they are not hampered in any way.
Check for Leaks and Rust
Over time, a fire extinguisher may develop signs of physical damage. It is important to check the fire extinguisher for visible signs of damage including rust, corrosion, a clogged nozzle and so on. Sometimes, a fire extinguisher may also develop leaks rendering it ineffective.
Apart from that, you should also look for any dents or cracks on the fire extinguisher These are sure indicators of replacement of the fire extinguisher.
The placement of the fire extinguisher plays an important role in curbing fire hazard. Keep the following in mind to ensure easy access:
- Fire extinguishers should be placed within 75 feet of travel in each floor of a building.
- Ensure that the fire extinguishers are not blocked by any objects and that they are readily available in the case of a fire.
- A portable fire extinguisher should be installed near the cooking equipment.
Things to Keep in Minds
While conducting an inspection of your fire extinguisher, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
- Keep a record of every inspection in a journal. Note down the faults detected and the repairs done. This will help you keep a tab on its maintenance history.
- Recharge the fire extinguisher as soon as it has been used.
- A professional inspection of your fire extinguisher should be carried out at least once every year.
A complete idea about how fire extinguishers work will come in handy during inspection.
An adequately maintained fire extinguisher will protect you in the event of a fire. However, a fire accident may still occur without signaling. If you live in Houston and have been the victim of a fire accident, you should immediately contact Houston fire investigation authorities.
This post was written by Katie Smith for Auto Fire & Safety Consultants, Inc. (AFSC)