Fire extinguishers do not come ready commissioned because they could be damaged, discharged or have lost pressure during delivery. Therefore, British Standard 5306-3 recommends that extinguishers are commissioned on-site by a competent person.
British Standards are recommendations, not legal requirements, however, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that any equipment, such as fire extinguishers, 'should be subject to a suitable system of maintenance and be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.'
Commissioning a fire extinguisher
Before the fire extinguisher is ready to use it is essential to:
- Attach the discharge nozzle if it is not already fitted.
- Check the tamper device is intact.
- Check the pressure gauge is in the green.
- Check the extinguisher for corrosion or obvious damage.
- Weigh the extinguisher and record on the maintenance label.
Only when a fire extinguisher has been properly commissioned to BS5306 standard can you use the certification document, as proof that you have fulfilled your responsibility in accordance with your fire risk assessment.