Fire extinguishers require stringent maintenance to ensure they will work when needed, or are more importantly, safe. Fire extinguishers are pressurised vessels that can explode when corroded or damaged, and have been known to cause serious injury and even death therefore regular servicing and testing of the equipment is vital.


The provisions of the fire precautions (Workplace) Regulations [1] Regulation 6 require that "where it is necessary to provide extinguishing equipment to safeguard employees in the event of the fire, this equipment shall be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."

Inspections should include checks that each extinguisher:


Is located in the designated place;

Is unobstructed, visible and its operating instructions face outwards;

Has operating instructions which are clean and legible;

Is not obviously damaged;

Has a reading in the operable range or position of any pressure gauge or indicator fitted;

Has seals and tamper indicators which are not broken or missing.


Maintenance should be carried out by a competent person (usually a specialist contractor) 12 months after installation of a new extinguisher, and at 12 monthly intervals thereafter. The following chart shows the basic types & frequency of maintenance:


Extinguisher Type     Basic Service     Extended Service     Overhaul & Recharge

Water & Foam             Annually             5 Yearly

Powder                         Annually             5 Yearly

CO2                               Annually                                                    10 yearly





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