Fire extinguishers are active equipment used to help control small fires. Fortunately they typically do not expire, however what many people do not know is that they are required to be recharged after every use and checked even if it hasn’t been used.
In order to comply with Australian Workplace Safety Standards, it is mandatory for portable fire extinguishers to be regularly inspected, tested, and serviced by an accredited professional. The maintenance regime for the inspection and testing of fire extinguishers and hydrants is specified in the Australian Standard AS 1851 Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment. The Australian Standard AS 1851-2012 guidelines state that:
- All fire extinguishers have to be inspected at six monthly intervals. If they don't have a pressure gauge, they may need to be weighed to check they are still full.
- There may be other fire extinguisher servicing requirements at 3, 5, or 6 years such as having them emptied, pressure tested, and refilled.
- The fire extinguisher testing intervals are to be recorded on a label or metal tag attached to the unit.
- No other work is required, provided that the visual inspection of the extinguisher shows that it is in a serviceable condition, unless the gauge indicates the unit is under pressure or the weight is too low. Any additional fire extinguisher maintenance required must be approved by the client before being carried out.
Depending on the type of fire extinguisher, it is also required that an overhaul for servicing occur every one to five years. Even if only partially used, fire extinguishers must also be refilled between the five year services.