The effectiveness of a fire fighting system depends on its preparedness. The last thing you want in an emergency is its failure to perform in the event of a fire. It is important to keep in mind that every fire fighting equipment has a shelf life and it needs regular maintenance and care. This is why fire fighting system needs regular inspection and maintenance.
The equipment is checked to see that all its mechanical parts are working as it should. Some equipment may need additional care, such as fire extinguishers refilling India. We must also constantly review our fire protection strategy to ensure our compliance with the current rules and regulation regime.
Inspection of equipment
All the fire fighting equipment must be checked regularly for its preparedness. Whether automatic sprinklers or manually operated fire extinguishers, these are mechanical instruments (with sometimes electrical support), which are bound to lose some functionality over time. Either the lever gets jammed or the cells die out. Some basic inspection should be a daily affair, while some requires weekly inspection.
Check: We should carry out a visual check to see that none of the equipment is crowded or obstructed in any way. Some equipment comes with an in-built gauge to make inspection easier. For instance, gauges in extinguishers that indicate the level of the agent or the power indicator in an alarm system.
Inspection: This involves a physical inspection that goes beyond the visual checks. An inspection is done to ensure that a device is working the way it should. This can also involve testing the device. This is a more detailed scrutiny than a mere visual check.
Planning schedule: It is important to have a detailed inspection schedule here. It should be done on daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, half-yearly and annual basis. This is important to ensure that all inspections are carried out on schedule and regularly. Clearly assigning the date and equipment to be inspected ensures that no equipment is left unchecked.
Assigning roles: There can be a common fire safety crew that carries out all safety-related inspections. Even then, the safety of a system is not usually the sole responsibility of one team or person. Some issues will come under the purview of the building maintenance and supervisor, some will be checked by the fire protection contractor, some by mechanical contractor, while some could be done by an in-house maintenance crew.
The segregation is done to ensure that roles are assigned according to expertise, availability and budget. For instance, one could have a fire contractor coming in everyday to inspect every minute detail. But this is an unnecessary expense. Instead, the building supervisor can carry out the daily visual inspection and call the expert only when required or when maintenance is due.
Assigning roles also helps in ensuring that each department understands its roles and functions. It helps us in fixing responsibility and accountability.
Refilling of extinguishers
An important part of maintaining fire fighting system is to ensure the regular refilling of extinguishers. This must be done anytime gas is expelled. In effect, it means that the extinguisher has to be refilled whenever we use it or after every inspection (since it is used during inspection).
For this, we must contact a competent fire extinguishers refilling India firm. This is a specialist job that also requires special equipment and access to the extinguishing agent. Many refilling agencies also offer maintenance services, giving you a cost-effective deal. It is critical that the extinguisher is refilled in time because a half empty extinguisher is of no use.
Regular maintenance and care
Apart from regular checking the equipment for working, we must also see that it is used and stored properly. Extinguishing systems like extinguishers and sprinklers must be not be obstructed by any object.
Fire fighting gear like jackets, helmets and boots must be stored at a clean, dry place, away from sunlight. These must be cleaned regularly to ensure there is no corrosion. Any broken or faulty parts must be attended to immediately.
It is also worthwhile to sign on with a fire protection contractor, such as some fire extinguishers refilling India firm for regular maintenance. This is usually a more cost-effective deal than getting billed every times an inspection is carried out.