Can you be sure your fire extinguishers will work?

Having a fire extinguisher is no guarantee you’ll be able to put out a fire with it. To be ‘fit for purpose’, every fire extinguisher you own must be subject to careful and regular servicing and maintenance to give you confidence that it will do what you wanted when you bought it. A British Standard Code of Practice (BS 5306) recommends that your fire extinguishers are serviced at least once a year by a competent person, to be sure they’re going to work effectively.

If you’re an employer, then you have a legal responsibility to look after your fire extinguishers to be sure they are in good working order. You’ll need to do a visual inspection, to make sure each extinguisher hasn’t been damaged or set off accidentally. And if you employ more than five people, the law requires you to hold a physical record of all service, maintenance and inspections, ideally in a Fire Log Book.

If you’re unsure what’s meant by ‘competent person’, you can find out about that, and lots more useful information about service of fire extinguishers in our advice centre pages.