Fire Protection in Hamilton: Fire Extinguishers

A multi-tiered approach is best when it comes to protecting your property from a fire. If you’ve got an alarm system that’s tied into smoke detectors and a fire sprinkler system, you’ve already got the foundation of fire safety protection laid out. Add in emergency lighting and exit signs and your building and its occupants are even safer. To top it all off, having the appropriate number of well-maintained fire extinguishers can help prevent a fire from breaking out and causing real damage.

Simply having fire extinguishers isn’t enough, though. You have to make sure they are properly maintained—frequently inspected and recharged if they’re low. While a sprinkler system can help stop a medium- or large-sized fire from spreading, fire extinguishers are a great defense against small fires (such as ones that start in a wastebasket, for instance). In order for them to be helpful in the event of a fire, though, you have to make sure they’re functional. There’s nothing worse than grabbing an extinguisher, pulling the pin and pointing at a fire, squeezing the handle…and finding that nothing comes out.

Taking Care of Your Fire Extinguishers

Workplace Fire Safety ImprovementsA good-quality fire extinguisher can last quite a long time. It’s important, though, for you to inspect each extinguisher on your property to ensure that they’re in good shape and don’t need to be replaced. What are some of the signs that a fire extinguisher needs to be replaced? If it has visible damage to the outside of the canister, this could be a problem. Cracks, dents, or other physical damage to the canister tank can be an indication that the extinguisher is damaged and may not work properly.

Another thing to watch for? Any sort of damage to the extinguisher’s nozzle or hose. Make sure these are both free of cracks or anything that may clog them. Also check the handle and make sure it’s in good working order. Look for corrosion, dents, or cracks. The handle should feel sturdy—never loose. Check to be sure the pin is in place and isn’t broken.

If any of the above parts seem damaged or as though they aren’t functioning properly, it’s time to dispose of the old extinguisher and get a new one.

If your fire extinguishers are all in good shape, you may need to have them recharged. How do you know if this is the case? Check the gauge on the side of the extinguisher. If it’s even a little bit low, it needs to be recharged. An extinguisher that’s low to any degree may not work properly when it’s used in the event of a fire.

Reasons an Extinguisher Might Need to Be Charged

You’ll likely have at least one extinguisher that will leave you exclaiming, “But I’ve never used that extinguisher! Why is it reading as low? Surely, it’s fine!”

It’s perfectly normal for fire extinguishers to lose pressure over time—even if they’ve never been used.

Other causes of partially discharged extinguishers are:

  • It was discharged only a small amount to put out a tiny fire.
  • Someone accidentally discharged it while messing with it (often, this is due to a child toying with it).
  • While it was being inspected by a fire protection technician, they discharged it a bit to ensure that it was working and neglected to recharge it afterwards.

Speaking of fire extinguishers being inspected by professionals, it’s important to have this done annually. Lumar Fire Protection Inc. in Hamilton and the surrounding areas can inspect and recharge all of your fire extinguishers, as well as take care of all of your commercial fire system needs. After all, the best way to protect your property and its occupants from a fire is to be prepared.

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