Fire extinguishers are an important part of any fire and safety system, often saving property and lives by extinguishing a blaze before it becomes destructive or deadly. Portable fire extinguisher testing is critical to maintaining a fire and safety system that is ready when you need it. Commercial property owners are required to follow the guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and requirements outlined by the Occupational Safety and Hazard Association (OSHA).
NFPA10 establishes the guidelines for fire extinguisher testing and inspection requirements which include internal monthly inspections, annual licensed inspections, six-year testing, recharging and hydrostatic testing requirements. OSHA 1910.57 outlines similar requirements including the employer responsibilities and the fire extinguisher testing schedule for the different types of extinguishers. Following these guidelines helps companies to ensure that their fire extinguishers will work as intended, providing defense against fires of limited size.
Testing for Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Testing
There are many different types of fire extinguishers manufactured for specific types of fires including Class A, B, C, D or K fires. Multipurpose, dry chemical fire extinguishers with nitrogen as the propellent are the most common in companies and public places and are rated for class A, B and C fires. These effectively extinguish the fires caused by burning wood, paper, liquid or electrical equipment by smothering the fire and removing the oxygen to the fuel source.
Section 1910.157 (e)(3) of OSHA Standards requires employers to conduct annual maintenance checks and retain record of service for at least one year, with records available for review by the Assistant Secretary up request. According to section 1910.157 (e)(4), dry chemical, stored pressure fire extinguishers requiring 12 year hydrostatic testing must be emptied and subjected to required 6-year maintenance. The 6-year requirement begins from the date of hydrostatic testing or recharging.
Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher Testing
Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are rated only for class B or C fires and will not work on class A fires.
NFPA12 is the Standard on Carbon Dioxide Extinguishing Systems, detailing the guidelines for anyone who designs, tests, inspects, approves, operates, purchases or installs these systems. Section 4.4 of NFPA 12 outlines the requirements for the plans, specifications and approvals of carbon dioxide fire extinguishers. This standard requires that an individual who is qualified and experienced in the design of carbon dioxide systems prepare the specifications, under the advice of the authority having jurisdiction.
Class D Fire Extinguisher Testing
Class D fire extinguishers operate with a dry powder rather than a dry chemical and are only effective on class D fires which include the presence of combustible metals. Class D fire extinguishers separate the fuel source from oxygen, removing the heat.
Section 6.5 of NFPA10 details the requirements for the installation of class D fire extinguishers, stating that they must be installed within a 75 feet travel distance to the class D hazard.
Class K Fire Extinguisher Testing
Class K fire extinguishers are designed only for class K fires which include hot grease or oil such as in a restaurant or kitchen. These wet chemical extinguishing systems deliver a soapy foam over the fire and cooking system.
Section 6.5 of NFPA12 requires class K extinguishers to be located within 30 feet of the hazard. NFPA17A provides additional detail and guidance on the use of wet chemical extinguishing systems.
High Rise Security Systems Performs Fire Extinguisher Testing
High Rise Security Systems is an experienced fire and safety systems specialist, providing fire alarm system design, UL listed equipment, inspections, testing, maintenance and monitoring 24/7/365. We are licensed in the State of Illinois to provide fire extinguisher testing and our technicians are experienced in all types of extinguishing agents and classes of fires. We ensure complete code compliance and provide peace of mind knowing your portable fire extinguishers will be ready in case you need them.
HRSS is a leading fire and safety systems specialist, providing licensed and certified comprehensive fire safety services. We help building owners to maintain code compliance and fire protection to property and lives. Contact us today to learn more about our fire and safety system services including fire extinguisher testing.