How often should a fire extinguisher be serviced?

17 November 2021

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 sets out the regulations governing the use of fire extinguishers in commercial buildings across England and Wales. According to BS 5306, the owner of a commercial premises should install at least two ‘Class A’ fire extinguishers as a minimum on every floor of their building.

But having fire extinguishers in your commercial premises isn’t enough. You also have to make sure they’re serviced so that they continue to be in good working order. The last thing you want is a faulty or completely useless fire extinguisher in the middle of an emergency situation.

So how often do you need to get your fire extinguishers serviced?

Fire extinguishers in commercial buildings must be serviced every 12 months with what’s known as a “basic service.” These fire extinguisher checks must be done in accordance with BS 5306-6 part 3 and you should always get your service carried out by a competent fire extinguisher technician, with the correct tools, training and experience. If it is found that a fire extinguisher has been damaged or is faulty then it should be replaced immediately. 

Extended fire extinguisher service

Extended servicing is done every 5 years for water, foam, powder, and wet chemical extinguishers. Again this extended service must be undertaken by a professional.

An extended service covers everything you would check in a basic service, plus some extras. During an extended service, the extinguisher is discharged, analysing the pattern, distance and duration of the discharged fire extinguisher to ensure it is within specification.

Next, the extinguisher’s valves and internal linings are checked and replaced if necessary. Lastly the extinguisher is re-filled and pressurised to specification and checked for leaks.

CO2 fire extinguishers

CO2 fire extinguishers should be replaced or pressure tested every 10 years. Most recently it has become more popular to provide a service exchange at this period. This means the extinguisher is swapped for an in-date extinguisher which provides a faster service time and extinguishers can be covered under warranties for a prolonged period.

Fire extinguishers and risk assessments

When you carry out your fire risk assessments, checking that you have adequate working fire extinguishers in the right places will form part of your assessment. Some of the questions you need to answer may include:

  • Are the fire extinguishers visible or indicated by signs?
  • Have you taken steps to prevent the misuse of fire extinguishers?
  • Are there enough fire extinguishers throughout the premises?
  • Are the fire extinguishers provided suitable for the premises?
  • Are the right types of fire extinguishers located close to the fire hazards and can users get to them without exposing themselves to risk?

Fire legislation states that the appointed person accountable for the safety assessment of the building must undertake a fire safety review ‘regularly’ to ensure it is up to date.

If you’re looking for help with your fire extinguisher service and maintenance or fire risk assessments we can help. We work with a range of commercial businesses across many sectors to ensure they’re keeping up to date with their fire safety.

Fire risk assessments are only the beginning of the fire risk management cycle. We can also offer an ongoing, fire consultancy service which includes the initial fire risk assessment(s), as well as more in depth support.

Contact us today: 01204 697 990 / [email protected]


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