FIRE EXTINGUISHERS & FIRE BLANKETS

Fire Extinguishers

A first line of defence from fire, extinguishers and fire blankets are used to extinguish or control small fires. Fire extinguishers and blankets require regular inspection to ensure correct and reliable function in the event of a fire.

Fire Safe ANZ installs and services all fire extinguishers and blankets to AS2444 & AS1851.

Different fires require different types of extinguishers; please download a Fire Extinguisher Chart here.

How do you test a Fire Extinguisher?

Australian Standard dictates that fire extinguishers must be inspected every 6 months. The following steps must be taken when testing a fire extinguisher:

  • Check that there is nothing obstructing the extinguisher (boxes, shelving etc.) and that it is in a suitable location for access and coverage
  • Ensure it has the correct signage identifying the contents of the extinguisher and a location sign
  • Check that the bracket holding the extinguisher to the wall is secure
  • Make sure that the “pull pin” is in place and secure and that the anti-tamper device has not been broken or removed
  • Examine the extinguisher for any physical damage, corrosion, leaks, broken handle or a blocked/damage nozzle
  • Check the pressure gauge indicator is in the correct operational range (in the green)
  • Weigh the extinguisher to make sure it is still full. If it is a powder extinguisher turn it upside down and listen to make sure the powder is still loose and has not solidified
  • Check the extinguisher is still in date (5 years from the date of manufacture)
  • Stamp the maintenance tag in the month of testing.

 

How do you test a Fire Extinguisher?

By Australian Law, it is mandatory that fire extinguishers must be inspected every 6 months.

The following steps must be taken when testing a fire extinguisher and must only be carried out by a component fire practitioner.

Note that the list of steps following is simply a guide on how to test a fire extinguisher. Contact East Coast Fire and Safety about how to test, maintain and replace extinguishers to the correct standards.

  • Check that there is nothing obstructing the extinguisher, such as boxes, shelving etc, and that it is in a suitable location for easy access and best coverage.
  • Ensure that there is the correct signage identifying the exact contents of the extinguisher and a location sign.
  • Make sure that the bracket that is holding the extinguisher to the wall is properly secure.
  • Ensure that the “pull pin” is in its proper place and secure and that the anti-tamper device is not broken and has not been removed.
  • Examine the extinguisher for any physical damages, such as possible corrosion, any leaks that have occurred, a broken handle or a blocked or damaged nozzle.
  • Weigh the extinguisher to make sure it is still full. If it is a powder extinguisher turn it upside down, listening to make sure the powder is still loose and has not solidified to the bottom of the bottle.
  • Check that the extinguisher is still in its operational date (this is within 5 years from the state of manufacture).
  • Check and update the stamp on the maintenance tag with the month of testing once all checks are completed. Any defects that are found also need to be logged at the end of the test.
  • Storage is more important than many realise, keep your fire blanket near to the stove on an adjacent wall. You don’t want to reach across flames to access the blanket.
  • To use the blanket, wrap the top corners around your hands, then lay the blanket over the fire in a controlled way. You want to avoid dropping the blanket or throwing it down.
  • Leave the blanket in place until no heat can be felt.
  • If someone’s clothing is on fire, wrap the blanket around the area and have them roll on the ground.
  • Fire blankets are most effective for oil or fat fires, and can be useful for small flammable solids or liquid fires.
  • Single use only. Replace your fire blanket after an incident.

Frequently encountered faults include but are not limited to:

  • Corrosion; This includes any that has occurred on the bottle, handle, pin, bracket, etc.
  • Broken handles or triggers; Broken handles can occur due to misuse of the fire extinguisher, general weathering and wear and tear or from the incorrect use when it is being used to extinguish a fire.
  • Overdue pressure test; The pressure test should be done at least every five years to ensure that the extinguisher will function properly.
  • Incorrect signage; Each fire extinguisher should be labelled correctly to show what the contents are and the class of fires that it can be used on. The location of the extinguisher should also have the proper signage
  • Fire blankets are most effective for oil or fat fires, and can be useful for small flammable solids or liquid fires.
  • Low pressure; if the pressure gauge is not in the green zone then the pressure is not correct in the extinguisher. If this is the case then the fire extinguisher will not work effectively, if at all.
  • The extinguisher has been tampered with in some way; for example, if the pins have been removed.

Contact Fire Safe ANZ  to discuss the options for fire extinguisher training and courses so your staff can safely use the fire protection equipment installed throughout your building.