When a portable fire extinguisher is manufactured it is typically labelled or stamped with a date of manufacture. This label or stamp can then be used as the basis for calculating the date the extinguisher (a pressure vessel) needs to be pressure tested.
Once a portable fire extinguisher is installed into service a periodic inspection regime commences. This regime consists of a combination of six-monthly and yearly inspections for the life of each portable fire extinguisher.
This requirement extsis to ensure each portable fire extinguisher is free from damage or contamination, is readily accessible, is clearly labelled; and is working and is likely to continue to be working until the next schedule service activity. A record of each inspection is typically recorded on a metal "tag" attached to the portable fire extinguisher. The level of service (1) denotes six-monthly and (2) denotes a yearly inspection is stamped by the inspector into the metal tag.
Hydrostatic Pressure Test (5-Yearly)
Australian Standard AS1851:2012 (A1) also sets out the requirement for undertaking a hydrostatic pressure test of ALL portable fire extinguishers on a five yearly basis as described in Item 3.78 of Table 10.4.3 (see below). This five yearly service also involves operating the fire extinguisher and an inspection of its components.
|Item No||Item||Action required and pass/fail requirement|
|3.8||Pressure test portable fire extinguishers.||
After the hydrostatic pressure test is completed, it is common for the test facility to record the date (month and year) that the pressure test was conducted. There are a couple of methods to record this;
- the date (month & year) is stamped into the extinguisher service tag; and
- the date (month & year) is permanently marked (stamping embossing or engraving) into the skirt or neck of the portable fire extinguisher; or
- the date (month & year) on a durable label affixed to the the cylinder. The removal of the label shall be self-destructive when removal from the cylinder is attempted; or
- the date (month & year) is stamped on to an indicator ring retained under the valve such that it can only be installed/removed from the extinguisher by fully removing the valve from the extinguisher.
How to read a Fire Extinguisher Service Tag
The tag of a portable fire extinguisher is yellow in colour and includes a matrix of months (row 1) and years (columns). The date in which an inspection occurs should be stamped into the fire extinguisher service tag by the person conducting the inspection. On the right hand side of the service tag is the date (year) the last hydrostatic pressure test was conducted.
The tool used by portable fire extinguisher service technicians includes a sequence of numbers on it to denote the level or type of service performed. This is no longer specified in the Australian Standard AS1851:2012 however in previous editions of the Standard the numbers denoted the following;
- (1) - Six-Monthly Service
- (2) - Yearly Service
- (4) - Discharge and Hydrostatic Pressure Test
- (5) - Recharge after Use
When a portable fire extinguisher inspection is conducted, the technician would stamp the service tag in the month & year the inspection was conducted and with the corresponding service that was performed.
In the perfect world, a person inspecting a fire extinguisher would see a all inspections conducted in the same two months each year (six months apart), one with the number (1 - six monthly) and the other (2 - yearly) service inspection.
How do I schedule my fire extinguisher maintenance
Portable fire extinguisher maintenance must be conducted by a competent person who has typically completed either of the two following nationally certified training courses;
- CPP20511 Certificate II in Fire Protection Inspection & Testing for fire protection technicians responsible for non-trade installation and regular servicing of fire protection equipment and systems.
- CPP30811 Certificate III in Fire Protection Inspection & Testing for fire protection technicians responsible for installation, commissioning and complex servicing of fire protection systems, or supervision of fire protection services work.
There are a variety of organisations that can deliver this training as well as the Fire Protection Association, Australia.
Firewize employs a number of experienced and competent technicians who specialise in the routine servicing of fire protection systems and equipment. You can contact our sales and support team in one of convenient methods listed on our contact us page on this website.