A visual check on your fire extinguishers once a month takes very little time, but can save both money and lives and is part of your legal duty.
1. Check that your fire extinguishers are on their proper fire extinguisher floor stands or wall hanging brackets, and access to them is unobstructed. Check that all fire extinguisher stands are undamaged, and that all wall brackets are secure. Check that signage is also unobstructed, so staff can easily see where fire extinguishers are located in the event of an emergency. Replace any worn, peeling or damaged signage
2. Check the pressure gauge where fitted. The gauge needle should be in the green zone. If it is in the red, either have the fire extinguisher repressurised, or replace it with a new fire extinguisher
3. Check that all seals are intact, that the safety pin is in place and secured by a tamper-evident seal or OK indicator. Gently dust or vacuum the extinguisher top to remove dust from the important valve, gauge and nozzle areas, and invest in a fire extinguisher cover if the area is particularly dusty, dirty or greasy
4. Check the fire extinguisher cylinder for any signs of leakage, rust spots or dents. If you find any, replace the fire extinguisher immediately and safely dispose of the old one. If a fire extinguisher is badly damaged, do NOT move it yourself in case the canister explodes. Call in a professional fire extinguisher company who will remove it safely
5. Check that the labeling remains clear and sharp to read. Some guides recommend you gently shake small powder extinguishers to prevent the contents from settling into a cake. In practice, you need to hold the unit upside down next to your ear without shaking so you can hear the loose powder gradually fall. Do not try this with large extinguishers
6. Finally, take a moment to look around the space to see if anything has changed that will affect either the operation, provision or location of your fire extinguishers. Is a new filing cabinet obscuring a sign, or has a new machine been installed in the area requiring access to a CO2 fire extinguisher?