All employers who are responsible for a particular workplace must have their equipment serviced in line with the standards and regulations.

The provisions of the fire precautions (Workplace) Regulations [1] Regulation 6 require that "where it is necessary to provide extinguishing equipment to safeguard employees in the event of the fire, this equipment shall be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."

Current fire regulations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 state that all fire safety equipment must be "maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."

Fire extinguisher maintenance includes checking for exhausted extinguishers that may not have been reported as used, checking that anti-tamper tags are in place, and that the fire extinguishers themselves are physically in good condition and ready for use – you'd be amazed how many safety pins get bent and stuck in place without being spotted!

The British Standard 5306 part 3 requires that maintenance of all your fire extinguishers is conducted by a 'competent person'.

The testing requirements in the code of practice are:

The effective maintenance of fire extinguishers includes many separate checks on gauges, moving parts, tubes, valves, and operating mechanisms, amongst others. The fire extinguishers also need to be thoroughly checked for signs of corrosion.

Fire extinguisher maintenance tests must be carried out annually, and an extended service carried out every five years for most types of fire extinguishers. This includes a full discharge test, where the extinguisher is operated under test conditions, its performance recorded, any faulty or worn parts replaced, the extinguisher refilled, and returned to service.

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