Portable fire extinguishers are invaluable to the safety of any office or corporate space. To ensure your fire extinguishers are prepared for an emergency, you have to make sure you subject the fire extinguishers to regular maintenance to keep them fully charged and in shape. If you emptied out a fire extinguisher to put out an office fire, you have two options: to replace or recharge them.
But which option is better? It depends on a lot of factors including the age and shape of the extinguisher. In this article, we’ll break down both options to help you determine which one makes more sense for the fire extinguishers in your office.
Let’s address the age issue first. Since disposable fire extinguishers cannot be recharged they have to be replaced twelve years after the production date. Additionally, older companies with dry chemical fire extinguishers made before 1984 also need to have them replaced at the next scheduled maintenance appointment.
In most cases, recharging your fire extinguisher is the best and most economical choice. This should always be your first choice, provided the fire extinguisher meets the right requirements. They are as follows.
With proper maintenance, your fire extinguisher can last years and years before you have to consider replacing it. But, in order to be eligible for a recharge, the fire extinguisher canister has to be in good condition. As long as the shell and all the parts of the extinguisher are in shape you can recharge it. This is also the greener option, as recharging saves money and reduces waste.
If you used the fire extinguisher to fight an office fire, no matter if you’ve emptied the entire thing or just used a little, you should recharge the extinguisher completely. Even it loses a little pressure, next time you try to use the extinguisher it might be more difficult.
Even though extinguishers are built to last and hold a charge for a long time, they should be replaced after 10 to 12 years as their ability to hold a charge weakens. Not only that, but replacing them after 10 years is mandated by the National Fire Protection Association.
While recharging your extinguishers is the preferable option, sadly sometimes it’s simply not possible. Here’s when replacement is the best option.
If you haven’t used the extinguisher for a while but the pressure gauge keeps dropping over time, the extinguisher might have a leaky nozzle or a cracked shell. In both cases, the fact that it is losing pressure warrants a replacement.
Even if your extinguisher is aged and still holds a charge, other parts of the device might be broken making it difficult to handle. If the safety pin is broken off or the handle is loose, it might fail you when you need it the most. You should regularly check your fire extinguisher for any signs of broken components and replace when necessary to avoid putting your office at risk.
Without the inspection tag, you cannot know when the fire extinguisher was last inspected or if it is too old. It’s not worth risking the safety of your office and employees for one wild card, especially when you can easily replace it with a fresh one.