What is fire extinguisher testing?

A fire extinguisher is your first line of defence against a fire. However, simply having a fire extinguisher at your workplace is not enough… you need to ensure it is in correct working order.

What good is a fire extinguisher in the event of an emergency if it does not work correctly? A working fire extinguisher can mean the difference between a small fire that can be managed and put out quickly and an out-of-control fire that puts people and your property in danger.

Fire extinguisher testing is completed by a safety professional and includes a visual inspection and integrity test, which is all recorded on a comprehensive report.

All fire testing at The Local Guys – Test & Tag is completed in line with the AS1851:2010 Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment Australian Standard.

Why do I need to have my fire extinguisher tested?

According to AS1851:2010 Standard, it is a legal requirement for all fire extinguishers in a workplace to be tested. Employers have a duty of care which they must maintain at all times.

Having regular inspection and testing ensures fire extinguishers remain in good working order and are able to be used in the event of an emergency. Fire emergencies are unexpected, so fire extinguishers must be ready at all times. In fact, Australian statistics have shown that 95% of fires in the workplace are extinguishable if a working and correct fire extinguisher has been used promptly.

Fire extinguishers are one of the best prevention strategies that can be used to protect yourself, your employees, and your business from fire hazards. Ensuring yours are fully functional at all times can prevent the loss of property, equipment and lives in the event of an emergency.

Regular fire extinguisher testing is crucial for maintaining workplace safety. Portable fire extinguishers play a pivotal role in safeguarding commercial buildings and businesses against fires. Ensuring their proper functionality through routine inspection and testing on a regular basis is essential. This preventive maintenance involves checking various types of extinguishers, their installation in different environments, and their inspection at regular intervals.

Fire extinguisher services by safety technicians are indispensable when it comes to safety equipment in a commercial building. These services include thorough examinations and maintenance by experienced technicians to guarantee that extinguishers are always ready for action. Such routine inspections are essential, as they can mean the difference between a minor incident and a catastrophic disaster, protecting lives and property.

How often do I need to have my fire extinguisher tested?

According to the AS1851:2010 Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment, all fire extinguishers must be tested every six months.

Pressure testing should also be completed once every five years. At five years, the fire extinguisher is considered ‘expired’. They will need to be stripped down, hydrostatically tested, have the powder/ filling replaced, O-rings replaced, and put back together again. Alternatively, the fire extinguisher can be replaced.

All fire extinguishers must have a metal fire tag attached to the extinguisher with all records of the tests and the dates they were completed.

Types of Fire Extinguishers and Their Testing Requirements

Different types of fire extinguishers exist, each designed to combat specific fire classes (e.g., A, B, C, D, or F). It’s crucial to understand the type of extinguisher and its testing requirements to ensure it remains effective against its intended fire class.

What is included in the fire extinguisher test?

During fire extinguisher testing, a safety professional conducts a thorough inspection. This examination includes a visual check to ensure the extinguisher’s physical condition and integrity. All findings are recorded in a comprehensive report, ensuring a clear record of the inspection.

When you book with The Local Guys – Fire Extinguisher Test and Tag to have your fire extinguishers tested, you will receive:

  • Inspection of the fire extinguisher and the surroundings
  • Integrity test
  • Comprehensive report outlining the service completed, date of the test, test results and any suggestions/ recommendations
  • Certificate of compliance stating the service completed, date and next due date
  • Reminder notifications to inform you when your testing is due again, managed through our Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)

If your fire extinguishers are missing any important signage, safety ties, etc., your technician will also replace this to ensure your workplace is compliant and the fire extinguishers Testing are up to the Australian Standards.

What happens if my fire extinguisher has expired or failed?

If your fire extinguisher expires, it should be taken off-site immediately and be replaced with an effective fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are usually filled with water or a chemical that is pressurised. Although these materials do not expire, over time the fire extinguisher becomes depressurised. The lack of pressure is what makes the fire extinguisher useless and considered ‘expired’.

A fire extinguisher can fail a test for a few different reasons. The most crucial factor is the hydrostatic test, which tests the integrity of the extinguishers cylinder. If this test fails, the extinguisher is considered unsafe and will need to be replaced immediately. Some other factors that can cause a fire extinguisher to fail include lack of signage or access. These can be rectified with small changes.

When a fire extinguisher fails its test or has expired, our technicians will notify you immediately. This will also be listed on your comprehensive report. Our technicians will offer to take your fire extinguisher away for it to be appropriately disposed of. We will provide you with a quote to replace and install a new fire extinguisher.

Common Issues Found During Fire Extinguisher Testing

Safety professionals often encounter issues during testing, such as depressurization, damaged components, or missing signage. Addressing these problems promptly ensures that fire extinguishers are ready for use in emergencies.

The Consequences of Neglecting Fire Extinguisher Testing

Neglecting fire extinguisher inspection and testing can lead to dire consequences. Failing to comply with legal requirements for protecting equipment may result in fines. Moreover, when malfunctioning fire extinguishers are unable to control fires, it can lead to property damage, injuries, or even fatalities.

Properly testing fire extinguishers, selecting the correct fire extinguisher for specific fire types such as grease fires or those involving electrical equipment, and ensuring the maintenance of equipment like hose reels and powder or carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are essential steps. Expert fire extinguisher servicing is crucial for keeping property safe and preventing these potential disasters.

Different Types of Fire Extinguishers and Their Testing Requirements

Different classes of fires require specific types of fire extinguishers for effective suppression. The most common fire extinguisher classes include Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class F, each tailored to combat distinct types of fires. Ensuring compliance with Australian building regulations and the building compliance industry is paramount for building owners.

Class A extinguishers tackle ordinary combustibles like wood and paper, while Class B extinguishers are designed for flammable liquids. Class C extinguishers are essential for electrical fires, Class D for flammable metals, and Class F for cooking oil fires. Regular testing on a basis, such as the 3-minute fire extinguisher inspection, is essential to confirm that extinguisher contents are suitable and that pressure indicators on ABE Fire Extinguishers, ABE Powder Fire Extinguishers, and ABE Powder Fire Extinguishers with Hose are within the recommended range.

Moreover, wheeled fire extinguishers, carbon dioxide extinguishers, and air-foam fire extinguishers are also part of the protection equipment arsenal. An annual fire maintenance contract is advisable to maintain these fire protection assets, especially when dealing with “C” – gas fires, “D” – metal fires, and “F” – cooking fats, which require specialised attention due to their unique characteristics. Proper testing and maintenance in accordance with Australian building compliance standards help ensure these extinguishers function correctly when needed, safeguarding both property and lives.

How to Properly Maintain Fire Extinguishers Between Tests

Between tests, it’s crucial to keep fire extinguishers in optimal condition. Ensure they are easily accessible, unobstructed, and that occupants are trained in their use. Regularly inspect extinguishers for visible damage or tampering and replace any missing or damaged components promptly.

How to Perform Basic Fire Extinguisher Testing at Home

While professional testing is crucial, individuals can perform basic fire extinguisher testing at home to ensure they remain in visible condition. This involves:

  1. Visual Inspection: Regularly check the extinguisher for visible damage, corrosion, or missing parts. Ensure that the pressure gauge or indicator is in the correct range.
  2. Seals and Tamper Indicators: Ensure that the tamper seals and indicators are intact, confirming that the extinguisher hasn’t been used or tampered with.
  3. Location and Accessibility: Confirm that the extinguisher is in its designated location, easily accessible, and unobstructed.
  4. Expiry Date: Check the expiry date, and if it’s expired or near expiration, consider replacement or professional testing.

Remember that while basic inspections can help, professional testing is essential to ensure the extinguisher’s full functionality and compliance with regulations.

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 Frequently Asked Questions

Who can test a fire extinguisher?

According to the Australian standards, fire extinguisher testing should be done by a fire safety professional who has been deemed competent. Queensland technicians are required to complete further training and gain an additional licence. All technicians at The Local Guys – Test & Tag have been trained to the highest standard to meet the requirements.

What types of fire extinguishers are there?

There are various types of fire extinguishers which each work to put out a fire depending on the type of fuel that started the fire (i.e. flammable liquids, electrical equipment) – also known as ‘classes’ of fire. There is no one type of fire extinguisher that works on all fire classes. It is important to have the right type(s) of fire extinguishers at your business or home to ensure you are appropriately protected from potential fire emergencies and meet the correct regulations. What fire extinguishers you need will be determined by the risks of different classes which may start a fire on your premises.

There are five main types of fire extinguishers in Australia. These include:

  • Water
  • Foam
  • Dry Powder
  • CO2
  • Wet Chemical

There are also different sizes and weights of fire extinguishers. If you are unsure as to what fire extinguishers you should have at your site, one of our technicians at The Local Guys – Test & Tag will be happy to discuss this with you.

How many uses can I get out of a fire extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher can only be used once before it needs to be recharged or replaced (even if it has been used for only a short period of time). Once the pin has been pulled and the extinguisher dispensed, the canister will continue to lose pressure, making it useless for a future emergency.

At The Local Guys – Test & Tag, our technicians will happily take your old fire extinguishers to dispense of them appropriately and replace (and install) a new one in its place.

Do personal fire extinguishers need to be tested?

There is no requirement for domestic fire extinguishers to be tested; however, it is strongly recommended. Protecting yourself in your home is equally as important as it is in your workplace.

Request A Quote

Please fill in ALL the below information and one of our friendly staff will contact you within 2 business hours to discuss your testing.

Request A Quote

Please fill in ALL the below information and one of our friendly staff will contact you within 2 business hours to discuss your testing.