How to Tell If My Fire Extinguisher is Expired 

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Fire extinguishers play a fundamental role in the commercial fire safety of every organisation, helping to provide businesses with firefighting equipment that can be used if the worst happens.

As well as being used to extinguish a blaze should one occur, fire extinguishers can help prevent a fire from spreading- protecting both the life of those on the premises and the property itself. 

The importance of fire extinguishers cannot be underestimated, and with this in mind, it’s vital they remain in good working order at all times. 

If a fire extinguisher has expired, it needs to be replaced immediately.

In this article, the team here at KW Fire Protection will explore how to tell if you have an expired fire extinguisher. 

Fire extinguisher legislation 

As a business owner or manager of any kind of commercial or industrial premises, it’s essential that you understand your health and safety obligations. 

Commercial fire safety is a part of this, and according to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005), it’s the duty of every employer to provide appropriate firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers.

The quantity and type of extinguishers will vary depending on the specifics of your organisation, but generally, regulations recommend two Class A extinguishers should be present on every storey of a building. 

It’s also your responsibility to ensure that all of your units are in good working order and ready to be used in the event of an emergency.

How to tell if my fire extinguisher is expired?

If a fire extinguisher has expired, it must be immediately replaced. 

But how can you tell if an extinguisher is expired?

Well, there are a number of ways you can do so…

The condition of your fire extinguisher

On a monthly basis, a ‘responsible person’ within your organisation should be carrying out visual inspections of all fire extinguisher units. 

As part of these checks, the individual should ensure units are in good, physical condition and replace them if there are obvious signs of expiration or damage. 

This includes checking for:

  • Rust, corrosion and other obvious damage 
  • Broken handles 
  • Blocked nozzles 
  • Missing lock pins
  • Damaged security seals 

As well as this, the pressure gauge needle should be in the red zone and the maintenance and servicing record must be up to date. 

When was the fire extinguisher last serviced?

You can also assess whether or not the fire extinguisher might be expired by having it serviced. 

Check the unit’s service level to ensure it has been properly serviced at the correct intervals – this is usually on an annual basis. If it’s due a service, you can then arrange one with your fire safety company who will be able to advise on whether or not the unit has expired.

As well as this, check the manufacturing date to see if an extended service is due. This date can usually be found on the body of the unit or the service label. 

If you have a water, powder or foam extinguisher, they need an extended service every five years and CO2 extinguishers have them every 10 years.       

How old is the fire extinguisher

The life span of a fire extinguisher might also dictate whether it has expired or not. 

There is no hard and fast rule for an extinguisher’s expiry date, however, the average life span is usually between 10-12 years. Checking the manufacturing date can give you an idea if you’re due a replacement, and your regular annual services will also be able to advise on this. 

If you require new fire extinguishers or fire extinguisher maintenance, KW Fire Protection is here to help. We provide a whole host of commercial fire safety products and services to clients across Manchester, Oldham, Bolton and the surrounding areas. For more information or to receive a free quote, contact our team today.                 

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