The LWF Blog
Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire Extinguishing Equipment Checks – Part 12March 23, 2017 12:02 pm
In this fire safety blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, we have been looking at practical tools provided in a work environment or public building in case of a fire, such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets and in Part 11, we covered the importance of appropriate levels of staff training. In Part 12, we’re going to move on to look at how fire extinguishing appliances must be inspected and tested in order to remain in good working order, in case they are needed.
While BS 5306-3:2009 – Fire extinguishing installations and equipment on premises, commissioning and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers, code of practice states that all fire extinguishing appliances must be checked and maintained on an annual basis by specialists in that field, a once a year check is not sufficient to ensure that the equipment is in good condition and ready for use.
For this reason, it is important that simple checks are undertaken on a regular basis (monthly is recommended) by a member of staff, most commonly the ‘responsible person’ named under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, or a member of staff with responsibility for Health and Safety who has had this task allocated to them.
An outline of the checks to be undertaken is as follows:
– Check that access to extinguishers and hose reels is unobstructed and that nothing has been stacked nearby in a position that could be problematic.
– Check that the valves of manual hose reels are set to the ‘off’ position and are free from leaks. It should be noted that automatic reels do not have an on/off setting.
– The hose should be neatly wound on the reel, any tangles could cause delay in a fire situation.
– The hose reel nozzles should be checked for blockages.
– Hose reel pumps, where provided, should operate correctly.
– Checks should be made that fire extinguishers are in their correct position and mounted on brackets, as tampering is common in buildings where the public or non-staff members have access to them.
– The fire extinguishers should appear undamaged, visual checks should be made to the canister and operating mechanism.
– Stored pressure extinguisher gauges should be checked to ensure they show normal pressure.
– Hose reel valve or extinguisher release control seals should be in place and intact.
– The date of the last maintenance undertaken on the equipment should be checked via the attached label to ensure they are not overdue their annual checks.
In next week’s blog, we will move on from portable fire extinguishing equipment to look at fixed fire-fighting systems. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.
Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.