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Extinguishers older than 10 years

Guest Stephen Auret

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Most** extinguishers are designed to last 10 years. All but CO2* should be discharge tested stripped down, inspected and re filled every 5 years. The downside is that the cost of doing this is often more expensive than buying a new fire extinguisher Click here

Older fire extinguishers are sometimes kept and used solely for "live fire" demonstration purposes, is not unusual for one of these extinguishers to fail to work properly.



*CO2 extinguishers it is 10 years and they need to be stretch tested too.

** Britannia make some that are 10 year service free.

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Assuming you aren't in the Irish Republic there isn't a maximum service life for extinguishers as long as parts are available and the extinguisher is structurally sound. This assumes that for non CO2 it's been Extended Serviced (as detailed above) every 5 years and overhauled (including pressure test) every 10 years if CO2.

Most service technicians, unless very long in service or working for the small number of traditional extinguisher firms still around, are no longer trained in or equipped for refilling and testing and usually replace extinguishers with new.

If your extinguishers are over 10 years old but in service date then either:
a) you are using one of the few firms that do a proper job and they are fine, or:

b)you have one of the increasing 'rag & tag' firms who will just fill in the label each year and take their money and I would replace the equipment (& the provider)

Photos would give me a clue as whilst some makes and models over 10 years are still serviceable, others aren't and others still have been subject to a recall as whilst looking externally like they will work they don't!

If the CO2 have more than 10 years of service records on and are being marked as OK or Serviced as oppose to requires test, corrective action required, etc then you definitely have had the cowboys in! 

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