This guiding principle specifies requirements for the inspection and maintenance of extinguishers, fire hose systems and fire hose reels, as a result of which, the operation of the products remains intact, in accordance with the objective for which they are intended. This procedure applies to all prevention means present, irrespective of the type of structure and the function of the structures.
PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Once per month all fire extinguishers must be subjected to a routine check. The routine check should be performed by a competent person, in order to ensure that each extinguisher:
- Is present on the intended location;
- Is visible with the instructions at the front and is freely accessible;
- Is provided with the correct and readable maintenance and operation labels;
- Does not have visible damages;
- Is ready for use according to the indication of a possibly mounted pressure gauge or indicator;
- Has been provided with indicators or seals indicating whether or not the appliance has been used. These indicators or seals may not be broken or missing.
Annual maintenance is performed in accordance with the relevant instructions and executed by a licensed person. If the hazards or circumstances demand it, this maintenance should be performed more frequently.
After annual maintenance, a label is applied, marked with notches or another indelible way:
- Date (month and year) of the maintenance performed;
- The applicable box(es): “Refilled”, “Rejected” or “Approved”;
- Latest date (year and month) on which the next maintenance should be performed (provided it was approved);
- The registration number of the person performing the maintenance;
- If applicable, the use by date label, according to figure 2, the date (month and year) of the next refill.
The maintenance labels as shown in figures 1 is normative in relation to dimensions, design, colour, indications for identification of maintenance person and dating method. Check, revision and other relevant data must be noted or otherwise indelibly marked.
Refilling fire extinguishers
Fire extinguishers that, for whatever reason, have been fully or partially emptied, must be refilled. Extinguishers must be refilled in accordance with the procedure and instructions from the manufacturer of the extinguisher.
Before the extinguisher is refilled it must be completely emptied and the extinguishing media must be disposed in accordance with relevant environmental regulations.
Each extinguisher must be decommissioned if, according to the expert, it is unsafe and/or unreliable. For an extinguisher this also applies to loss of content or pressure loss of more than recommended by the manufacturer. The expert should take measures to eliminate the hazards. If it is not possible to take measures immediately to repair the defect, the expert must mark the extinguisher with “UNFIT FOR USE”.
Fire safety measures during maintenance
The yard must take into account that maintenance, as well as refilling, will temporarily reduce the effectiveness of the fire safety provisions. For that purpose, the following measures are recommended:
- Depending on the fire hazard, only a limited number of extinguishers may be removed from a certain area for the performance of these procedures;
- Where necessary, replacement fire extinguishers must be placed in this area;
- During the maintenance period, additional fire safety measures can be taken.
Removing portable extinguishers
Certain types of extinguishers may no longer be maintained based on their type, construction, mode of operation, general state or regulations. The following extinguishers must be decommissioned and replaced:
- Extinguishers, filled witch chemically formed foam;
- Extinguishers that are activated by means of a soda and/or acid cartridge;
- Extinguishers containing riveted pressure transporting components;
- Extinguishers that are activated by turning them around;
- Extinguishers that are activated by turning them around and bumping them on the floor;
- Extinguishers for which original components are no longer available;
- Extinguishers for single use and for which no latest use by date is indicated or this date has been exceeded.
In addition, changes in regulations may result in a situation where certain types of fire extinguishers may no longer be used. The expert will report to the yard that these extinguishers cannot be maintained and must be replaced by suitable other extinguishers.
FIRE HOSE SYSTEMS AND FIRE HOSE REELS
Regular checks by the responsible person
The responsible person or his representative must perform checks once per month on the fire hose systems and fire hose reels, with intervals that depend on the ambient conditions and/or the estimated fire risk. By means of checks you must establish whether each fire extinguishing system or each fire hose reel:
- Is attached at the designated location;
- Has been provided with a legible manual, is clearly visible and accessible for everyone;
- Shows no leaks, visible damages or corrosion.
The responsible person should take immediate corrective actions where necessary. The responsible person must record the results of the regular checks.
Inspection and maintenance
Maintenance and annual inspection should be performed by an expert.
Note: An expert is a person with the required experience, who has the necessary tools, test equipment, information and manuals and is familiar with the special procedures recommended by the manufacturer, as a result of which this person is able to perform the maintenance procedures.
The fire hose must be rolled out completely, be placed under the work pressure of the building, and the following aspects should be checked:
- Whether the access is not blocked and whether there are no damages, leaks, corroded parts (no more than 10% rust formation);
- The user manual should be clear and readable;
- The location should be clearly indicated;
- The used wall attachment means must be suitable for the application and be applied sufficiently firm and tight;
- The water flow should be sufficient and even.
Note: the use of a pressure gauge and a flow gauge is recommended. For fire hose systems with a flat rollable hose, this test can be performed with a different hose with the same specifications but, for example, shorter.
- Pressure gauge, if mounted, works properly and within the applicable work range of the installation;
- The whole length of the fire hose must be inspected for signs of cracks, wear, damages or deformations. If the fire hose shows signs of damage, the fire hose must be replaced or tested under maximum working pressure for the presence of possible leaks;
- The fire hose clamps or attachment rings must be of the correct type and be properly mounted;
- The drum with fire hose must rotate in both directions without any obstruction;
- In case of pivotable reels, check whether the rotation joint rotates easily and the reel pivots over the minimally required angle;
- In case of hand operated reels, check whether the main valve is of the correct type and functions easily and properly;
- In case of automatic reels, check the correct operation of the automatic valve and check the correct operation of the permanent stop valve;
- Check the condition of the water supply pipes. Special attention should be given to wear on flexible pipes and signs of damage;
- If mounted in a cabinet, check whether its doors open without obstruction and check for signs of damage;
- Check whether the nozzle is easy to operate and is of the correct type;
- Check the operation of the possibly present fire hose guide and establish whether it is attached correctly and firmly;
- Leave the fire hose system or fire hose reel ready for use. If major maintenance is required, the fire hose system or fire hose reel must be provided with the text “UNFIT FOR USE” and the expert must notify the user or owner.
Reports of maintenance and inspection
The report should contain:
- Date (month and year);
- Scope and date of replaced components;
- Whether possible further actions are required;
- Date (month and year) of next inspection or maintenance;
- Identification of each fire hose system and/or fire hose reel.
After the inspection and required measures, the fire hose systems and fire hose reels must be marked by the expert with “MAINTENANCE PERFORMED”.
A continuous report of all checks, tests and inspections must be maintained by the responsible person.
Fire safety during maintenance and inspection
Because maintenance and inspection will temporarily reduce the availability of firefighting equipment:
- Only a limited number of fire hose systems and fire hose reels (depending on the estimated fire hazard) van have major maintenance at the same time in a particular zone;
- Additional fire safety measures and safety instructions must be considered during the maintenance and during the periods when the water supply is interrupted.
Only components (such as supply valves, fire hoses, nozzles) that are approved by the supplier/manufacturer of the fire hose system or fire hose reel may be used to replace defective components.
Note: It is necessary that all defects are repaired as quickly as possible, so that the good operation of the fire extinguishing system can be guaranteed.
Label for maintenance and inspection
The data concerning maintenance and inspection are stated on a label that may not cover any markings by the manufacturer.
The label should contain the following data:
- The phrase “MAINTENANCE PERFORMED”;
- Name and address of the supplier of the fire hose system and fire hose reel;
- Reference that clearly identifies the expert;
- Date (month and year) on which maintenance took place.