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Choosing the right service provider to manage the annual service of portable fire extinguishers can be confusing. So, it’s vital that you understand the minutiae of the wide range of service plans on offer from each provider. What’s more, you should never be wary of challenging them to explain their costs in full.

Some providers will allow you to choose certain elements, such as extinguisher components and the exact contents of the service plan. This is a little like vehicle insurance where you can choose a policy to suit your exact needs, be it fully comprehensive, third party, or third party, fire & theft. Being in charge of the exact specification of your fire extinguisher plan is important for budget control as well as ensuring it meets the needs of your business.

Am I legally responsible for fire extinguisher servicing?

The basic level of servicing should be carried out once a year. All fire extinguishers should be serviced in accordance with the current British Standard 5306:3:2017. To guarantee full compliance with this standard, your service provider must replace a number of components at every service. These components are known as ‘consumable spares’ and these include tamper tags and O-rings.

Of course, other components may also need to be replaced. This will depend on the level of wear and tear or damage and your service provider can advise you on this. These components are known as ‘major spares’ and include discharge hoses and CO2 horns.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Every five years, you are obliged to carry out a more detailed service, known as an ‘Extended Service’ for low pressure extinguishers. The main element of this service is a full discharge and internal examination of the extinguisher. This applies to water, AFFF (foam) and dry powder models. Primary sealed extinguishers have a period of 10 years before they require an extended service.

In practice, a dry powder extinguisher is usually exchanged with a new or service exchange extinguisher. Powder extinguishers are not discharge tested on site anymore due to mess & contamination risk to the replacement powder.

Similarly, foam extinguishers cannot be discharged anywhere where the foam may contaminate local water sources and are usually replaced with new models. Indeed, Fire Industry Association (FIA) Environmental Guidance issued in October 2010 states that ‘Foam extinguisher concentrates, and extinguisher foam charges must NOT be discharged onto car parks, hard standings, grass, waste land, streams, rainwater/storm drains or any outdoor site.

If you have CO2 extinguishers on site, you are legally obligated to ensure that they undergo a ten-year pressure test. If this were carried out it would involve the removal of the equipment from your premises and transport to an authorised test facility for:

    • Valve removal
    • Hydraulic testing of the cylinder
    • Shot-blast of the outer casing and repaint
    • Refill and fit a new valve

However, this isn’t generally cost effective so, as with dry powder and foam extinguishers, CO2 extinguishers are usually replaced with new models.

What’s the true cost of servicing a fire extinguisher?

The above information clearly shows that if your service provider offers ‘extended servicing’ in their service plan, it’s an illusion that you are receiving anything extra. Apart from water extinguishers, all other types of extinguishers are usually replaced with a new model when their extended service is due.

Knowing and understanding what’s actually involved will help you assess the true cost of servicing your fire extinguisher. And, as a result, here at Fire Safety Services, we no longer offer a Fully Inclusive service plan, as we are unable to undertake the extended service on many of your extinguishers.

What’s in our fire extinguisher service and maintenance contracts?

We have a choice of three fire extinguisher maintenance contracts available to ensure you are always legally compliant.

Standard Service

The standard service is based upon an attendance charge plus a price per extinguisher and per fire blanket. This involves a thorough inspection of the unit for corrosion, damage, and partial or complete discharge. In this service package, all the consumable spares, major spares are charged for in addition to the unit price. New equipment is charged extra as required.

Inclusive Service

The Inclusive service is based upon an attendance charge plus a price per extinguisher and blanket. Consumable parts used are included. The only additional costs that you’ll bear are for major spares & refills. New equipment is charged extra as required.

Premier Plus Service

The Premier Plus service is based upon an attendance charge plus a price per extinguisher (depending on type). This includes everything from parts, refills and replacement extinguishers. It doesn’t include refills or replacements due to misuse, vandalism or theft.

In addition to these contracts, we also offer call out services, should you need your extinguisher equipment refilling.  And, you can rest assured that we only supply the highest quality fire extinguishers from Europe’s leading manufacturers. This guarantees the most suitable installation for your premises and usage. All of our extinguishers are kite marked to BS EN3:1996 and manufactured to the highest standards.

Our fire extinguisher maintenance accreditation

We are BAFE SP101/ST104 accredited in installation, commissioning and maintenance and comply with BS 5306 part 3 and BS 5306 part 8.  What does this mean in plain English? Well, it tells you that all of our portable fire extinguisher technicians are always fully up to date with current codes of practice. This enables them to deliver more than just straightforward maintenance of fire extinguishers. They’ll spot the tiniest of problems which could compromise your legal compliance and always give you the most professional and honest advice.

Remember that all fire extinguishers should be serviced annually to the current British Standards. Regular servicing and maintenance of your fire extinguishers is a legal requirement. It will also give you assurance that your fire extinguishers will work when they are needed most. Don’t underestimate the importance of a fully functioning fire extinguisher. They save lives.

Do you know what type of service or maintenance plan you have in place?

It’s our policy to be fully transparent with all our customers and never sell them a service plan they don’t need. Did you ever consider that you could be paying more than is necessary with your current service provider?

Please don’t be fooled or drawn in by a low price per extinguisher if all components are NOT included. This is a common tactic of some suppliers but it’s unethical and, in the long term, rarely saves you money. However, we regularly save our customers money by reviewing and explaining this unethical charging by our competitors.

If you would like to discuss the maintenance and servicing of your fire extinguishers and review whether what you’re paying with another service provider is truly fair, please contact one of our expert team today on 08000 234114.

Nikki Harman

Nikki Harman

Marketing Manager

Qualified marketer Nikki has over 20 years’ professional experience. She is responsible for our strategic marketing planning and implementation, including branding, website, lead generation, social media and PR.

Read more blogs from Nikki.

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