Fire Safety Equipment Maintenance
As set out in the SANS 1475: 1&2, a ‘responsible person’ ‐ be it yourself or a nominated “competent” person ‐ must carry out a fire risk assessment to assess any fire hazards within the building, and take the necessary actions to reduce any fire risks and ensure all fire safety equipment is maintained at all times.
In this article, we discuss the importance of keeping fire safety equipment in perfect working order at all times.
It is essential that you have fire safety equipment in place in your commercial property, positioned in accessible locations should there ever be a fire.
Both passive and active fire safety equipment should be regularly checked for any signs of wear or damage, in order to ensure they are working correctly at all times.
Equipment checks can include:
A fire extinguisher is classified depending on the type of fire it is designed to put out ‐ fires are categorised by classes.
Different extinguishers remove at least one of these three components, thus extinguishing the fire:
This type of extinguisher is usually rated for multiple purpose use (Class A, Class B, Class C and electrical fires), although their use indoors is not recommended.
These contain a powder based extinguishing agent, this smothers the fire removing oxygen and alters its chemical composition.
Suitable only for use on Class A fires (freely burning carbonaceous materials such as wood, paper and fabrics).
These extinguishers contain water (and sometimes a special additive) and these cause rapid cooling, reducing heat from the fire.
Suitable for use on Class A and Class B fires (freely burning carbonaceous materials such as wood, paper and fabrics and flammable liquids).
These extinguishers are water based with a special additive and these cause rapid cooling, reducing heat from the fire, but the special foam additive also removes oxygen too.
Primarily designed for use on electrical fires, but suitable for use on flammable liquids fires, these displace oxygen, reducing levels to an extent where a flame cannot be sustained.
Pull out the safety pin from the operating levers/handle that prevents the extinguisher being accidently discharged. There may also be a tamper evident seal fitted to the extinguisher; these are designed to break very easily as the safety pin is removed.
Aim the nozzle/discharge horn of the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Completely squeeze the operating levers/handle in order to discharge the extinguisher, ensuring you are the appropriate distance from the fire.
Sweep the nozzle/discharge horn back and forth at the base of the fire to ensure it is extinguished. Be sure to keep going until the extinguisher is empty to avoid reignition.
*For Class F extinguishers (cooking oils), completely discharge the extinguisher into the deep fat fryer from a minimum 1m distance away, with the lance held directly above the burning oil.
Fire Action supply a comprehensive range of fire extinguishers, as well as a professional installation and maintenance service for all customers. We also provide a range of fire safety equipment, fire risk assessments and training.
For more information, feel free to contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you.
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