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Fire Safety Guidance Part 3 - Firefighting equipment

This is the third of the fire safety guides that you can add to your fire safety guidance documentation, this week we are going to cover ‘firefighting equipment’.

Fire extinguishers

It’s is important that all fire extinguishers undergo a regular inspection at least monthly. All testing of such equipment should be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Things to look out for during regular checks:

- That the extinguishes have not been used and that there are no signs of damage or tampering (including seals and tamper indicators are intact)

- That the user instructions are visible, face outwards and have no damage to them

- That the extinguishers have not been obstructed and are still visible and are still located in the designated place

- That pressure gauges/indicators are reading within operational and safety limits

If any of the above issues are found, corrective action should be arranged where necessary.

Hose Reels

Regular checks should be carried out to ensure the reels are not obstructed, are clearly visible and that the user instructions are still attached. They should also be inspected as set out in your risk assessment of the fire risk/environment by a competent person for signs of corrosion or leaks.

An annual service and Inspection should also be completed to ensure the water pressure and flow is enough, this will involve rolling out the full length of the hose. This will also ensure that it is water tight and that the nozzle is operable.

Sprinkler systems

Obviously, the automatic sprinkler system cannot be physically tested by the following checks should be completed:

Weekly - The following checks should be recorded:

- Water and air pressure gauge reading on installations and a recording kept

- Sound the water motor alarm for 30 seconds

- Check the fuel and oil levels of diesel engines used to power automatic pumps

- Check that the automatic pumps start when the water pressure is reduced to the specified level

- Check the electrolyte level and density of all acid battery cells (replace any cells are replaced)

- Check the operation of the mode monitoring system for stop valves in life safety installations

- Check the continuity of connection between the alarm switch and the control unit and between the control unit and the fire service (usually via a remote manned centre) for automatically monitored connections

- Check the correct functioning of trace heating systems provided to prevent freezing in the sprinkler system.

Finally arrange for quarterly, half yearly, yearly and three yearly inspections are booked with a competent person to find any defects and repaired. Ensure a certificate of testing is received and logged.

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