Can You Use a Fire Extinguisher More Than Once?

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Every business should have a fire extinguisher on hand at all times, as is legally required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Fire extinguishers can make a huge difference in an emergency, preventing small blazes from burning out of control. Whilst you hope to never need your fire extinguisher, it’s important to understand what happens once one has been discharged. Can a fire extinguisher be reused or is it an item designed for one-time use?

Luckily, the team at TVF (UK) Limited is here to answer all your questions and help you to determine whether your premises require new fire extinguishers.

Can You Use a Fire Extinguisher More Than Once?

As long as your fire extinguisher has not expired or sustained any damage, most fire extinguishers can be reused — it’s always worth checking the label to be certain though. However, you must leave time between uses to refill your fire extinguisher and ensure it is ready to use.

How long does a fire extinguisher usually last?

If you examine your fire extinguisher closely, you’ll notice a date of manufacture. This is usually stamped on the cylinder body, but it can also be printed on the extinguisher label or the extinguisher itself. If properly maintained, a fire extinguisher can last for between 10-20 years. However, UK regulations recommend that an extinguisher should be replaced every five years, or have an extended service carried out.

During this extended service, a skilled expert will perform a thorough inspection and a complete valve overhaul. Subsequently, the extinguisher will then be discharged, with the technician carefully observing the pattern and distance of the extinguisher to ensure it meets the specified standards. Following this, the interior lining is inspected and the extinguisher is refilled and repressurised. Thanks to their high-pressure cylinders, CO2 extinguishers only require an extended service once every ten years.

How do you refill a fire extinguisher?

Recharging fire extinguishers is a delicate process and should only be attempted by a knowledgeable professional, such as the experts at TVF. Firstly, even if your extinguisher has only been used briefly, it will need to be completely emptied. This is a process called discharging and can be achieved by simply squeezing the handle until no more extinguishant is released. 

Then, the extinguisher must be cleaned and checked. Your fire safety technician will meticulously examine the device, inspecting it for any signs of wear and ensuring all seals and nozzles are tight. Should there be any damage noticed, they may recommend you purchase a new extinguisher instead. The extinguisher must then be refilled with the correct extinguishant for its intended use, before being repressurised. Finally, all that’s left to do is ensure that the extinguisher has been sealed properly.

Should I refill or replace my fire extinguisher?

If you’ve been in an unfortunate situation where you’ve had to use your fire extinguisher, you may be wondering whether you should get a new one or refill your current one. When making this decision, it’s important to consider the age and condition of the extinguisher. If your extinguisher is already several years old and coming to the end of its life span, getting a new one may be a more cost-effective option. However, if your extinguisher is still relatively new and this is its first use, refilling it will reduce wastage and likely work out cheaper.

Here at TVF (UK) Limited, we have a huge selection of fire extinguishers available to suit the needs of properties across High Wycombe, Watford, Slough and beyond. Our BAFE-accredited team can also carry out fire extinguisher maintenance and ensure all of your extinguishers are properly recharged and ready for use in an emergency. For more information regarding the range of services we provide — including fire risk assessments and fire safety trainingcontact our friendly team today.

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