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How to Properly Test a Fire Extinguisher

In case of fires, a fire extinguisher is useful in attempting to deal with such catastrophes. However, you need to be absolutely confident about using a fire extinguisher. Extinguishers are identified by a color coding. Earlier, the whole body of the extinguisher was painted the appropriate color code. Now, besides the predominant red, you have a band or circle covering the surface area with a second color. This indicates the contents of the extinguisher.

In order to ensure that they are available for use and operate properly when needed, it is a requisite mandate that extinguishers be properly inspected and tested. Fire extinguishers are required to be visually inspected when initially placed in service and at least once a month thereafter. Visual inspections help ensure that each extinguisher is in its designated place and will operate if needed.

There may not always be a guarantee that the pressure gauge in a normal or perfectly operable extinguisher might perform as intended. You always need to check for broken seals that are an indicator that the extinguisher has been used by someone earlier. It is quite possible that it could have discharged and that the residual contents are too low to allow the pressure gauge to function properly. Therefore, monthly inspections verify a number of things, such as:

1 Extinguishers are in their designated places.

2 There are no obstructions to access or visibility.

3 Safety seals are not broken or missing.

4 There is no evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.

5 Pressure gauge readings are in the proper range or position.

6 Operating instructions are legible and facing outward.

7 Fullness confirmed by weighing or lifting.

Any problems found during inspection need to be attended to urgently. Problems are indicators that an extinguisher needs a complete maintenance overhaul. In some cases, you might even need to replace the extinguisher. Full maintenance procedures must be performed whenever an extinguisher is put to test.

At certain intervals, fire extinguishers need to be pressure tested. This usually involves simple water or other non-compressible fluid testing that checks for leakages and ruptures, helping you avoid malfunctions in case of an emergency. Such hydrostatic testing includes a complete internal and external examination of the fire extinguisher. This proper testing requires special training and equipment and ought to be performed by approved extinguisher servicing companies.


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