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Your questions Answered

Q. Do I need to have my fire extinguishers maintained?

A. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the responsible person to ensure that a system of maintenance is put in place to ensure that all the fire fighting equipment is kept in an efficient state, in working order, and in good repair. 


Q. What is the minimum level of maintenance?

A. To satisfy the requirements of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 article 17 as a minimum, maintenance should be carried out to the extinguisher manufacturers instructions. Almost all fire extinguisher manufacturers adopt BS5306 pt 3 as the standard to maintain their extinguishers.


Q. What and why is an extended service?

A. Extended service is the discharging of the extinguisher under controlled conditions by a competent person to ensure that it performs correctly. It is then stripped down and thoroughly inspected inside and out. With the majority of modern extinguishers being the stored pressure type, it is only at this point that the internal condition of the extinguisher can be verified. If the extinguisher is in usable condition, any faulty or worn parts are replaced, it is recharged and placed back into service. Extended service intervals for Water, Powder, Foam, and Wet Chemical extinguishers are five years. Co2 extinguishers are required to have a major overhaul ten years from their last test, and this can only be carried out at a authorised cylinder test center.


Q. My fire extinguisher maintenance company tells me its cheaper to buy new extinguishers than carry out an extended service on my existing ones. Is this correct?

A. Unless the extinguishers have a plastic operating valve or require additional parts, then this is untrue. It usually means that their technician is unable or unwilling to refill your extinguishers, or it's just for financial gain (commission) they want to sell you new extinguishers. 


Q. My fire extinguisher maintenance company tells me that my extinguishers are not the approved type and unfit for use. What does this mean?

A. This phrase can be used by service technicians to replace fire extinguishers that are perfectly fit for service in most incidences.

The facts are that all fire extinguishers manufactured since 2002 must carry a CE mark. If the extinguisher was made before 2002, then a CE mark is not required. Furthermore, refurbished extinguishers can not carry a CE mark and can not be condemned for not carrying it. The BS Kitemark and BAFE Approval are all additional gained by the manufacturer at their decision. These approvals are not required under the RRO or BS5306 pts 3,8,9. Having said those extinguishers carrying more approvals, you would assume to be of better quality than those without.

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