Blake Fire and Security Systems

Maintaining Fire Extinguishers - The Consequences Of Neglect

Date: 11 August 2017
Categories:

Provided it is regularly serviced and maintained, a Fire Extinguisher should last for more than 10 years. However, components like seals deteriorate over time and need replacing as part of your maintenance, while the discharge test is required after 5 years.

Unfortunately, it's not unknown for us to be contacted by sites where the legal maintenance schedule hasn't been followed.

Read the following cautionary tale and learn the penalty for neglecting Fire Extinguisher maintenance, so you don't fall foul of the Fire Safety Inspector!

Maintaining Fire Extinguishers

A disaster waiting to happen

A few years ago, we were contacted about maintaining some Fire Extinguishers at a site that had never had any maintenance before.

To the average business owner, this sounds shocking because most know that you MUST maintain your Fire Extinguishers by law. However, on this particular occasion, the lack of maintenance was the result of ignorance rather than wilful neglect...

Our initial inspection revealed that the Extinguishers were over 10 years old and, therefore, had been potentially dangerous for at least the last 5 years!

Not only could these have failed during an emergency but, in extreme cases, any undetected corrosion or damage would render pressurised extinguishers liable to explosion.

When it all goes wrong, who's to blame?

A Fire Extinguisher that could explode at any moment is a tremendous risk.

But what about the consequences that the Responsible Person would have faced if there was a fire and no way to put it out?

The staff, visitors and assets on site could all have been sitting ducks.

At the end of the day, it's the Responsible Person's duty to:

  • Carry out a Fire Risk Assessment - or have a competent third party assessor do so
  • Make a list of all evident and potential risks
  • Take the necessary actions to mitigate those risks
  • Hire a competent company for installations and maintenance

If a fire had broken out and it was noted that the Fire Extinguishers were in a dangerous neglected state, the Responsible Person could have faced unlimited fines or even a prison sentence.

Maintenance from a professional and accredited provider like Blake's is your only hope if you wish to fulfil your duty of care to the highest standard.

Top Tip: Looks for an NSI Gold Fire accredited installer for your
fire safety
maintenance and installations!

Everyone makes mistakes, but this one could land you in jail...

In many cases, a lack of maintenance is only discovered when somebody new takes over responsibility for the site and knows that servicing by a qualified engineer is critical.

But ignorance of fire safety is no excuse.

We are pleased to say that the extinguishers are now properly maintained annually and the Responsible Person is happy that they have taken all the required actions to ensure the site is safe and compliant with the Fire Risk Assessment.

The moral of the story?

Without proper maintenance, your fire safety equipment can do more harm than good. It's the Responsible Person’s duty to ensure that a competent, qualified installer is maintaining equipment - so that it conforms to regulations and is fit for purpose at all times.

Unfortunately there are more ways you can fail at fire safety. Read our free eBook and learn how other people have failed - so you don't have to.

Click the image below to download your copy.

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