How Often Should You Service Fire Extinguishers?

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how often should a fire extinguisher be serviced


Portable fire extinguishing equipment.

How often should fire extinguishers be serviced? Well, the Fire Safety Order 2005 contains extensive regulations regarding fire safety equipment and the legal requirements that are in place when it comes to fire protection for your building.

One thing you need to concern yourself with is fire extinguisher servicing. A fire extinguisher is one of the most basic and essential forms of fire safety equipment.

However, fire extinguishers need maintaining to ensure they operate effectively and safely. With that in mind, continue reading to discover everything you need to know. 


How often do you need to have fire extinguishers serviced in the UK?

The regulations that are in place in the UK at the moment state that a competent person must service fire extinguishers at least once per year.

A competent individual generally indicates someone who has a relevant BAFE qualification or the equivalent.

The legislation in place also states that extended fire extinguisher servicing needs to be conducted every five or ten years, depending on the type of fire extinguishers you have.

Monthly – visual inspections of fire extinguishers

But how often fire extinguishers be checked? While maintenance and servicing need to be carried out once per year, you do need to conduct a visual inspection of your fire extinguisher once per month. Some of the different things you need to look out for are as follows:

  • Any indications of damage, for example, leakage, corrosion, or any signs that someone has tampered with the fire extinguisher.
  • Be sure that the pressure dial on the extinguisher is pointing to the green.
  • Lift the extinguisher to make sure it feels full.
  • Make sure the fire extinguishers are visible and that nothing is obstructing their view
  • Check that there are not any missing service labels. The tags and labels on a fire extinguisher need to be legible. 
  • A broken or wobbly handle.
  • Missing or broken locking pins or seals.
  • A blocked, torn, or cracked nozzle or hose.

These are some of the different things that you need to be on the lookout for when visually inspecting your fire extinguishers once per month. It is important to make sure that your monthly inspections are recorded as well. This ensures there is adequate information ready for when the fire extinguishers are serviced more thoroughly.


Yearly – fire extinguisher inspections

A competent fire extinguisher engineer should carry out a full inspection of your fire extinguishers once per year to make sure they are operating to the British Standard. The professional will carry out a thorough maintenance check and examination.

If needed, they will also carry out any repairs in accordance with the BS5306 guidelines and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. After the extinguisher has passed the yearly service, it will be tagged and dated. If a repair is not possible, you will need to replace the fire extinguisher. 

When you engage the services of a fire extinguisher engineer, they are not only going to look at the working condition of the fire safety equipment. They will also look at whether it is fitted onto the stand properly and if it is situated in the right place.

They can check how you have grouped the fire extinguishers to ensure that they are providing suitable protection for any potential hazards within the area in question. 

fire extinguisher service

As touched upon earlier, it is imperative to make sure that the engineer who carries out the service is BAFE registered or the equivalent.

For those who are unaware, BAFE is a third-party, independent certification registration organisation for the fire safety and protection sector.

The organisation will determine whether a business is competent to supply fire protection services, and this is why it is imperative to choose a company that has this seal of approval. You will know that the engineer you hire has the required experience, has passed regular refresher courses, and meets all of the standards that are in place.

Do not forget that you are required by law to keep a record of all of the inspections, maintenance, servicing, and repairs you carry out on the fire extinguishers on your premises.


Extended fire extinguisher service

Finally, you need to ensure that you have extended servicing carried out on your fire extinguishers. Whether this is conducted every five or ten years depends on the type of fire extinguisher you have.

If you have powder, water or foam extinguishers, you will need to have an extended service every five years. Some of the important parts of an extended service include:

  • A discharge test
  • Valve overhaul and servicing
  • Re-pressurising and refilling
  • All of the elements included in the yearly service

If you have a CO2 extinguisher, the extended service will need to be carried out every ten years. These fire extinguishers are subject to different regulations because of their high-pressure cylinders. Some of the important parts of an extended service include:

  • Being sent back to an approved centre for testing
  • Hydraulic testing, which is also referred to as a stretch test
  • Replacement of the main valve

After such an extensive amount of time has passed, you may find that it makes more sense for you to replace the fire extinguisher, as opposed to trying to repair the extinguisher in question. This is something that the experienced fire professionals you hire will be able to advise you on. 

Once you reach the 20-year stage, all fire extinguishers should be replaced. This is the case irrespective of the type or condition of the fire extinguishers at your premises. No one can afford to take a chance when it comes to fire protection and safety.

So there you have it – everything you need to know about fire extinguishers being serviced and maintenance schedules. We hope that this has helped you to have a better understanding of your legal and safety requirements.

Find out more about fire extinguisher types or extinguisher colours in our detailed guides. Or read our post on what extinguisher should not be used in confined spaces.

If you need any assistance with this or you require expert fire extinguisher maintenance, you can reach the team here at Surrey Fire & Safety on 0800 157 1113 or email us at [email protected]. We are always happy to answer any queries, no matter how big or small.

Alternatively, you can ask us to call you back by clicking on the link below.