If you’ve recently had to use your fire extinguishers to put out a fire, then you have one of two options. The first is to get your fire extinguisher completely refilled or recharged. The second option is to replace your entire unit. How do you know which one you should choose? What things should you consider? That’s what we’re here to discuss today.
Here is some quick, helpful advice when it comes to determining whether you should replace your fire safety equipment or have it refilled. Let’s jump right in!
When to refill your tank
Fire extinguishers are built to last – and in some cases can be useful for up to 12 years or more. This means that so long as you keep up with your regular, routine inspections and take care of your equipment, your shell should be in good shape, and you’ll be able to recharge your extinguisher as many times as you need to.
However, a caveat to this is with regards to smaller fire extinguishers. They’re usually only made for a few uses if that. So if you recently used one to put out a fire, we recommend you get it replaced. For normal to larger extinguishers, you should be fine getting them refilled.
When it’s time to get them replaced
Any time you use an extinguisher, you should have it inspected. But when is it time to get a new unit? We recommend purchasing a replacement IF:
The hose or nozzle is damaged
Pins are broken or missing
No inspection tag or a missing inspection tag
Cracks or damage to the extinguisher’s shell.
These are all repairs that can’t be made or, if they were made – would cost you a pretty penny. A good rule of thumb is that if the extinguisher experiences any significant damage on the exterior, then it’s time to get it replaced.
If you have a question about this or any other fire protection topic, don’t hesitate to contact Protegis Fire & Safety.
Every year, fire safety pros conduct thousands upon thousands of safety inspections of businesses and facilities all over the country. We do these inspections to catch any potential fire hazards before they become catastrophes. Those catastrophes could be anything from property loss to the actual loss of life.
We know that every business owner does what they can to make sure their facilities are up to code, but there’s always a learning curve for these kinds of things and always something to learn.
For those of you who are new to the process, here are some of the basics of fire inspections and what you can expect when it’s time for you to get one done. Let’s jump right in!
To get ready for your inspection, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a checklist of all the things you need to have inline so you can rest assured that at least the basics are covered. It’ll help you stay on track with the maintenance you’ve already conducted as well as some of the things that you still need to do.
Also, annual fire inspections are random, sometimes unscheduled events. That means it’s crucial to be prepared at all times to make sure your building is safe.
Why Inspections are Good
Fire inspections are necessary because of what they do – but in many ways, they’re more important in terms of what they say: that you’re a responsible person who provides a safe working environment for employees, residents, and customers who will go to and from your building.
It’s also vital to your security. Even if you’re the owner, the statistics on fires in small businesses are sobering. 80% of small businesses that experience even a small fire will never reopen. In addition, a building that is well maintained has better resale value and can help you save on insurance premiums.
The Actual Inspection
Inspectors will check various things in your building to ensure they are working as they should. Access points to the building should be free and clear of any obstructions. Means of egress should be accessible and easy to see and in good working order. Electrical components should be appropriately labeled and installed. Exit signs should be lit, you should have backup power in the event of a power outage, and all your alarms need to be both maintained and easy to get to.
If you have any questions on this topic or any other fire protection topics, please feel free to contact Protegis Fire & Safety.
False alarms are annoying. Sure, it’s better safe than sorry, and more often than not, false alarms are worth it. Almost all of us would rather have that happen than the alternative. With that being said, it doesn’t mean they should frequently be happening. You can do things to ensure that false fire alarms aren’t an ongoing issue in your home or place of business.
What Causes Them?
There are a lot of reasons that fire alarms can get tripped. Reasons include dust, insects, strong chemicals, and poor installation. Let’s take a closer look.
Dirt, Dust, and Bugs
Believe it or not, insects cause a lot of false alarms. Some are so small that they’re able to get inside the device and inadvertently mess around with its sensors. This can be exacerbated by excess dust and dirt, making your detector overly sensitive to things in a given area, therefore increasing the likelihood of a false alarm.
The fact is most business owners at first tend to view fire safety as a sidebar issue to what they have going on with their day-to-day. This makes them want to save on costs by using more inexpensive equipment. While you don’t need the Cadillac of fire safety equipment, you DO need to invest in dependable, reliable brands and products.
Doing so will save you a ton of money. Most false alarms are caused by low-quality detectors and, even worse – poor installation or incorrect placement. Things like being installed too close to a bathroom or in an area where they’re exposed to pollen particles can also make your detector more susceptible to a false alarm. Additionally, be careful about your alarm’s proximity to heat-generating assets like ovens, stoves, radiators, and the like, as those can trip alarms, too.
The best rule of thumb is to try to place your alarms 10-20 feet away from these sorts of things – making it easier to avoid a false alarm.
One of the biggest culprits for false alarms is chemicals. Microparticles inside your wall and even some cleaning agents can trigger your detector. When you’re repainting your home or commercial space – we recommend disabling your alarm *while* you work and then turning it back on once you’ve had a few hours to settle.
What Can I Do To Avoid These Things?
The first thing you should always try is to clean up the area near your alarm. Like anything else, they accumulate dust, dirt mold, and other debris. Vacuum vents near detectors, sweep and clean the areas around them, even gently wipe them down. And always – rest your device when you do.
Additionally, always be sure you have a fire safety pro come through once a year to check up on your alarms. They may need minor things like battery replacement – but they can also help you figure out where to best place your detectors so they can do their job as intended. Doing so – will dramatically decrease the risk of a false fire alarm.
And above all else – even if you hear an alarm and you’re 99% sure it’s nothing, follow your regular fire safety protocols to the ‘t.’ Exit the building, get people to safety – then try your best after the coast is clear, to try to identify what caused it. And if you’re unsure, call in a pro.
If you have a question about this or any other fire and life safety topic, please get in touch with Protegis Fire & Safety.
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