Safety Spotlight: Fire Extinguishers

Bob Vezzani
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Of all fire technologies, fire extinguishers generate the most questions, and for good reason. While the concept is fairly simple, the technology and science behind them, and which one to use for which application, is complex. Additionally, using and maintaining them appropriately is a critical component in their effectiveness.

Fire extinguishers might be a basic staple of fighting early stage fires, but there is nothing basic about them. That’s why Guardian Security is committed to providing valuable information on the tools, services, and technologies you need—so that your fire extinguishers work when you need them most.  Take note of these important tips for keeping your business safe.

Do You Have the Correct Type of Fire Extinguisher?

For many businesses, the answer is no—at least in part. There are several different sizes and types of extinguishers, each having different applications. For example, there are extinguishers for ordinary combustibles such as wood, some for extinguishing flammable liquids, and others appropriate for fires involving electricity. Not only is it important to have extinguishers for ordinary and common combustibles easy accessible, you are likely to need more than one type in any given area.

Provide Employee Training

One of the most common mistakes business owners make is assuming their employees know how and when to use a fire extinguisher. Another common mistake is thinking that having one or two employees who know how to use one is adequate in an emergency. Most people do not know how to use an extinguisher and relying on one or two who do can prove disastrous if that person is not at the right place at the right time. The best option is to provide ample employee training.

Opt in to Inspection and Maintenance

It is easy to forget the humble extinguisher until a fire emergency occurs. Fire extinguishers are tools and must be kept in working order through regular inspections and servicing. Another good reason to opt in to regular inspections is that they are required to maintain compliance with fire codes. Here are a few of the inspections you can expect:

Annual Inspections—The NFPA and local jurisdictions require fire extinguisher inspections each year.

6-Year Maintenance—Every 6 years, the extinguisher is broken down completely and emptied of the contents. Parts such as the “O” ring and gaskets might be replaced. Once reassembled, the extinguisher is recharged.

Hydro-test—Every 12 years a hydro-test is performed. The extinguisher is broken down and emptied. The components and tank are inspected for flaws. If there are no defects, it is reassembled, charged and placed back into service.

Proper Fire Extinguisher Care is Part of Your Fire Response Plan

The only way you can ensure that your fire extinguishers are and will remain in optimal working order is by having them regularly serviced and inspected. Guardian Security technicians are fully trained, tested, and licensed to service, inspect, and recharge portable fire extinguishers. During our regular fire inspections, we routinely perform fire extinguisher inspection and maintenance.

Guardian Security can help equip your business with proper fire extinguisher training, selection, placement and service. If you have any questions about how to ensure your extinguishers are your most valuable asset in an emergency, call Guardian Security today.