Why Do Fire Extinguishers Fail?

Why Do Fire Extinguishers Fail?

April 2, 2020

It does not take much to imagine the terror that arises when you attempt to suppress a fire, only to discover your fire extinguisher does not work. A fire extinguisher service in Los Angeles, CA can help you by ensuring you have the right equipment and update it periodically, but it is still good to know what type of maintenance is needed for your fire extinguishers. Here are five reasons fire extinguishers fail and how to prevent it:

  • Corrosion: If you store a fire extinguisher in a basement, under the sink or in another high-humidity area, it can corrode. This will eat away at the metal levers and valves, which causes failure when the extinguisher is needed. Corrosion can also weaken the tank so it cannot handle the pressure when suppressant is discharged. The best way to prevent corrosion is to store extinguishers in a dry spot. If you must store one outside, ensure it is protected from the elements.
  • Forgot to recharge: Every time you use a fire extinguisher, it must be recharged. That is because each discharge weakens it and makes it less likely that it will work. Even if it is not empty, it can still fail to produce the appropriate pressure needed to put out a fire. Prevent this problem by recharging your extinguisher whenever it is used. Bring it to a fire protection specialist as soon as possible.
  • Damage: Fire extinguishers may seem indestructible, but in reality, it does not take much to damage one. Dropping it or running a cart or cargo into it can render it useless if a fire breaks out. This is especially true if the collision or impact causes damage to the valve assembly. Mishandling can also cause damage. Leaving an extinguisher in a freezer or direct sunlight renders it less effective. Train staff to avoid mishandling fire extinguishers, and always keep them in a designated place. If one is damaged, require them to report it, and visually inspect extinguishers to ensure they remain unscathed.
  • Bad hoses: The hose not only moves suppressant, but also supports the needed pressure to extinguish fires. When a hose is blocked or worn out, it cannot function properly. Debris, dead insects and previous discharge can cause this issue, as does extremely cold temperatures. Check your hoses periodically and clear out debris. When discharged, have your fire service clear out hoses when they recharge it.
  • Leaks: While leaks are uncommon, that does not reduce their devastation. Leaks arise when there is a change in the internal pressure. That can happen after discharge and you do not recharge it. However, it can also leak even if it has never been used. That normally arises from damage or keeping extinguishers well past their expiration date. Prevent this issue by checking the pressure gauge to see that it stays in the green zone. If it is above or below, the extinguisher either needs repair or a recharge.

US Fire Protection offers fire extinguisher service throughout Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding area. For assistance, contact us today to see what we can do for you.

Categorised in: