Your fire extinguisher is the first line of defence against any small fire. An extinguisher that works can mean the difference between a small fire extinguished early or an out-of-control blaze that puts people in danger. However, simply having a fire extinguisher is not enough – you also need to ensure that it’s working as designed. Even a brand new extinguisher could have lost its pressure, making regular testing and maintenance necessary.
Your Legal Obligations
Fire and Emergency New Zealand Regulations 2018 states that fire extinguishers shall be inspected as follows:
- Fire extinguishers must be tested and inspected every 12 months by a professional, per NZS 4503:2005. Extinguishers need to be inspected at least once every six months in environments deemed’ hostile’. A hostile environment could mean that your work type has more associated fire hazards than usual.
- Every Five years, fire extinguishers require a hydrostatic pressure test to make sure your device is operating effectively and recharged when an extinguisher is discharged. Wet chemical and foam fire extinguishers require additional testing every three years.
Other Reasons For Testing
While routine testing by a professional is a regulatory requirement, you may need to conduct additional testing of your extinguishers if:
- The extinguishers location is prone to tampering or damage, such as a place with high foot traffic or other public areas.
- Your extinguishers have been relocated.
- You suspect damage has happened, or the extinguisher has been discharged accidentally.
- You notice that the extinguisher’s safety seal is broken, the pin is missing, the pressure gauge is no longer in the green zone, or the hose is blocked or cracked.
Fire extinguisher inspections and testing are just one part of regular, scheduled maintenance conducted by a professional. Not only will the professional maintenance test all your equipment and systems to ensure they’re up to New Zealand Standards. They’ll also make sure all components are replaced or repaired when needed and record the work performed using a fire equipment register. What fire maintenance you’ll require depends on various factors, from the environment to the class of fire that may be present.
While fire extinguisher testing by a professional is a regulatory requirement, self-conducted maintenance may also be necessary. This might include:
- Ensuring you have the correct type of extinguishers whenever your business’ fire risks change
- Check the location of your fire equipment. In the event of a fire, is it easily accessible?
- Checking your signage. Is it the correct sign for the extinguisher? Is it visible?
- Ensuring all staff are trained in the use of fire equipment.
How Is The Maintenance Recorded?
Once the inspection is completed, the information must be recorded on the maintenance tag attached to the top of each extinguisher. If your equipment has previously been tested, you will be able to see your fire extinguisher testing frequency by looking at the yellow maintenance tag to know when the last test was completed.
At Spectrum Fire Protection, we keep detailed records of all tests and maintenance performed. We will send you a copy of the report to keep with your compliance documents. Once we have completed the inspections, we can put your details into our system and give you a call to organise your next service.