Business operations require that the workplace is safe for staff, and that happens to include safety from one of our biggest fears – fire. Utilizing a robust fire prevention strategy is vital to the success of your workplace health and safety initiative, and so we’ve gathered the information you need to make it effective.
Two primary types of fire extinguisher inspections are vital to business:
1) Fire Extinguisher Inspection – An inspection of an individual fire extinguisher device.
2) Fire Extinguisher (Facility) Inspection – An inspection of the facility and fire extinguishers (placement, accessibility, quantity, and more).
Both types of inspection are often referred to as fire extinguisher inspections, so it’s important to distinguish between the two. However, we’ll be looking at the facility side of the fire extinguisher inspection in our template for our intents and purposes. It’s the inspection you need to do to comply with legislation in many areas, and in others, it’s merely common sense for safety in the workplace.
Included In The Fire Extinguisher Inspection Checklist Document
This fire extinguisher checklist PDF template will allow your business to maintain regular inspections regarding fire protection and prevention, a vital component of any robust health and safety workplace policy.
To summarize the downloadable fire extinguisher audit checklist, we have broken it down into four key sections.
- General Conditions
- Extinguisher Checkpoints
- Corrective Actions
Similar to many forms you’ve likely completed before, the administrative section maintains a place where your inspectors will include data like their name, date, time, and location of the inspection. We’ve also included the building square footage and the number of each of the most common types of extinguishers.
Ensuring an adequate amount of functional extinguishers are present in your workplace is essential. The general rule for calculating the number of extinguishers you may need is as follows.
For every 2000 square feet, you should have one extinguisher.
Therefore, divide the total square feet by 2000 for the number of minimum extinguishers you need.
The twelve questions within the general conditions section of the fire extinguisher checklist are intended to aid in your compliance with OSHA and NFPA standards. Although the list is not exhaustive, it is a general summary of those conditions you should ensure your business meets.
As most business facilities are more than a single room, the need for detailed checkpoints for multiple extinguishers is essential. Therefore, we’ve included room for 24 extinguishers (1 fire extinguisher inspection form will work for a 48,000 square foot facility, assuming a uniform amount of something like a class A extinguisher type).
Although we all want to hope and possibly assume that our facilities are in tip-top condition, even fire extinguishers require annual testing by a certified professional. And that means that at some point throughout the year, your team will need to coordinate a testing swap-out procedure.
When your inspection team performs a fire extinguisher audit, they can note any particular corrective actions needed in this section. These points are not included or require further description from the extinguisher checkpoints in the section above.
How To Use The Checklist For Fire Extinguisher Inspection
There are eight easy steps you can take to use the fire extinguisher inspection checklist for optimal results. However, there are also a few tips we have to make the process that much smoother. You’ll find the tips after (in the next section), but ensure you give a quick read-through of this section first because the tips work hand-in-hand with the process we’ve outlined below. Let’s jump in.
Here is our optimal process for using the fire extinguisher inspection checklist within your fire prevention policy.
- Download the Fire Extinguisher Inspection form.
- Print off as many copies as you need to complete a full inspection (remember, one sheet for every 48,000 square feet or one sheet for every 24 extinguishers on-site).
- If not completed, determine the facility square footage and the minimum extinguisher requirement.
- Complete a brief assessment of the types of fires that could potentially occur on site. This information will ensure you know what type of extinguishers and their size that your facility requires.
- Appoint staff to perform monthly visual inspections and complete the Checklist For Fire Extinguisher Inspection.
- Review and mitigate any issues noted on the report’s corrective actions section and any non-conforming issues found during the checkpoint analysis of your equipment.
- Schedule and coordinate annual inspections for your fire extinguishers.
- Determine a hydro-testing schedule for your extinguishers based on the type (see the table in the FAQ below).
Tips For Best Results
We recommend a few things to help you and your team run an efficient fire extinguisher inspection program. Here are the three top tips to aid your business:
- Complete and provide a facility map with all fire extinguisher locations. This map should be completed during facility setup, but it is better to complete it late than never. A simple fire plan with extinguisher locations is all you need for this tip. If you don’t have one, have one of your staff draft a facility map and locate and mark all the fire extinguishers on the map. This way, each inspection will start with a map to identify all the fire extinguisher locations efficiently and effectively.
- Don’t be afraid of training your entire workforce. Fire extinguisher training is often easily accessible online and takes little time to complete. Yet, it could save your life, the lives of your team and staff and even make someone a hero if they can provide the service of stopping a fire before it escalates. If all staff is well trained in the use of fire extinguishers, then you have less risk exposure because your team might know what to do in case of a fire emergency.
- Use a digital reporting solution. Don’t get us wrong; we created this downloadable to help you maintain a robust fire prevention and protection policy. However, imagine if you could retrieve previous inspections with the click of a button. Or, better yet, no paperwork with fingerprints or other soils that require navigation. No more filing cabinets either.
A digital reporting system like that provided by 1st Incident Reporting can save your team time and money by pushing all reports to the cloud for instant retrieval by anyone granted access (and with an internet connection).
A digital fire extinguisher inspection form also allows you to customize the inspection process to suit your business’s particular needs. Take the example of requiring enough for a 150,000 square foot facility. A paper checklist might wind up being 4, 5, or even more pages long. A digital solution has no such issues and can accommodate any sized business.
But don’t take our word for it. You should test drive the solution for yourself and see how our customizable templates and notifications for incident reporting, auditing, and more will help increase the efficiency of inspections and automate file delivery processes.
Fire Extinguisher Inspection Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Inspect A Fire Extinguisher?
Inspection of a fire extinguisher is best accomplished by using a fire extinguisher checklist form like the one we have here for you to download. Or, you could use a digital solution like the 1st Incident Reporting App (available on Google Play and Apple App Store) to help track all the things you need to inspect on your fire extinguisher. Take the app for a test drive today to find out more.
How Often Should Fire Extinguishers Be Inspected And Recharged?
Fire extinguishers need visual inspection monthly. In most regions, annual recharging is required for most fire extinguishers used for workplace facilities. However, depending on the extinguisher type, there may be hydrostatic testing requirements. The following table is found on the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website.
|Extinguisher Type||Testing Interval Requirement (Years)|
|Soda acid (stainless steel shell)||5|
|Cartridge operated water and/or antifreeze||5|
|Stored pressure water and/or antifreeze||5|
|Foam (stainless steel shell)||5|
|Aqueous Film Forming foam (AFFF)||5|
|Dry chemical with stainless steel||5|
|Dry chemical, stored pressure, with mild steel, brazed brass, or aluminum shells||12|
|Dry chemical, cartridge, or cylinder operated, with mild steel shells||12|
|Dry powder, cartridge, or cylinder operated with mild steel shells||12|
Where Do Fire Extinguishers Need To Be Placed?
Type A fire extinguishers need to be no more than 75 feet from employees. Type B requires proximity of 50 feet from employees at the maximum. Remember that the extinguishers must be clearly visible and without obstructions.
Is It Better To Recharge A Fire Extinguisher Or Buy A New One?
Some businesses don’t bother recharging fire extinguishers and opt to purchase new ones instead merely. Although this action might be fine for a small business that only uses one or two class A extinguishers, it isn’t feasible financially in many situations.
Many fire protection companies offer alternatives such as rented extinguishers. These companies typically include annual or even monthly inspections as a part of their rental package. However, you’ll need to assess your own business needs to see if this option is viable in your workplace.