How Do You Test A Fire Extinguisher?

March 26, 2021

When it comes to fire hazards within commercial businesses and workplaces, extinguishers are often the first line of defence. Over 90% of fires are controlled or extinguished using a portable fire extinguisher. However, less than 50% of occupants within a building feel confident in operating an extinguisher in the event of a fire. Not only is it crucial to make sure extinguishers are always in working order, it’s important for employees and occupants to be trained in fire safety. 

Testing fire extinguishers is a requirement for all workplaces, so it pays to know how and when they need to be tested. It goes without saying that regular fire extinguisher checks will save lives. 

There are a few checks and tests that you can carry out yourself, everything from checking the pressure gauge to testing the weight and fullness of the extinguisher. However, this does not replace the need for professional tests and inspections by licenced professionals. But say you wanted to check a few things yourself, how should you test a fire extinguisher?


How do you test a fire extinguisher?

Unfortunately some people may think that the best way to see if an extinguisher is in working order is to discharge it a little bit. If a fire extinguisher is discharged, even a small amount, it can compromise the pressure inside and make the extinguisher useless. Any extinguisher that has been discharged will need to be replaced or recharged. 

But there are other ways you can test a fire extinguisher without compromising it. Here’s some things you can check:

  • Ensure the fire extinguishers are in the right place and easily accessible in the event of a fire. 
  • Make sure staff are aware of where fire safety equipment is located and are trained in emergency procedures. 
  • Check that the locking pin and tamper seal are in place and still in good condition. 
  • Check the condition of the outside of the extinguisher, keeping an eye out for cracks, corrosion, and dings, as well the condition of the nozzle and checking if it obstructed. 
  • If the extinguisher has a pressure gauge, check that it is at full pressure. The needle should be in the green on the dial or it will indicate that it needs to be recharged. 
  • Lastly, check the service tag on the extinguisher to see the last time it was tested. If it was more than 6 months ago, you need to organise a professional fire extinguisher testing as soon as possible. Australian fire extinguisher requirements state that portable and wheeled extinguishers need to be inspected and tested every 6 months.


How often do you need to test fire extinguishers?

There are a number of regulations and Australian standards for fire safety and testing requirements. It’s important to stay on top of these regulations to avoid fines, but more importantly to maintain a safe workplace for yourself and your employees. 

The regulations in line with AS1851-2012 state that:

  • Portable and wheeled extinguishers need to be tested at 6 month intervals.
  • Refills and pressure testing need to be carried out every 5 years.

A record of all tests needs to be kept so that you know when the last test was carried out and when the next one needs to be scheduled. Instead of keeping track of this yourself, it’s a better idea to have a professional service that manages testing and testing schedules for you. A fire testing service will advise when your next scheduled test needs to take place and will attend to this regularly for you. 

A service like this also gives you peace of mind knowing that licenced professionals are managing your fire safety and ensuring that you’re compliant with Australian standards. 


Why choose Brisbane Fire Services?

At Brisbane Fire Services, you don’t have to worry about any of the testing, we manage the process from start to finish. Having a team of professionals handling this for you allows you to focus on your business and makes fire safety easy in the workplace. 

Not only do we offer extinguisher testing, but we also test all types of fire safety equipment. We can inspect and test emergency and exit lighting, fire blankets and hose reels, fire hydrants, and fire detection and alarm systems. We can ensure your entire building is fire safe. 

On top of our testing and inspection services, we have a range of fire safety equipment for all your needs and also provide fire safety training services. 

We hope this article has helped answer your question “how do you test a fire extinguisher?”. If you have other questions about extinguishers or any of the services we offer, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 

We pride ourselves on providing our customers with a reliable and professional service. We would love to demonstrate how we can deliver our outstanding service to your Brisbane business. Call us on 0499 198 427 to arrange a free quote. 

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