Fire extinguishers are essential safety devices that every building should have to protect against the risk of fire. However, simply having a fire extinguisher is not enough; it is equally important to ensure that it is always in proper working condition. One crucial aspect of fire extinguisher maintenance is refilling them at regular intervals. This article will explore the frequency of fire extinguisher refilling as per the guidelines provided by IS 2190, a standard set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
Understanding IS 2190
IS 2190 is a set of guidelines established by BIS that specifies the requirements for the maintenance, inspection, and refilling of fire extinguishers. Following these guidelines ensures that fire extinguishers are always ready to combat fires effectively. The frequency of refilling fire extinguishers depends on several factors, including the type of extinguisher, its capacity, and the environment in which it is used.
Determining the Frequency of Refilling
The frequency of fire extinguisher refilling is determined based on the concept of "service pressure." Service pressure refers to the internal pressure that a fire extinguisher should maintain to function correctly. According to IS 2190, fire extinguishers must be refilled when their service pressure drops below a certain level. This level varies depending on the type of extinguisher.
Types of Fire Extinguishers and Refilling Frequency
1. Water and Foam Fire Extinguishers: Water and foam extinguishers are commonly used in many buildings. According to IS 2190, these extinguishers have a refill requirement when their service pressure drops below 15% of the maximum allowable pressure. It is recommended to refill these extinguishers at least once every five years to ensure their optimum functionality.
2. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguishers: CO2 fire extinguishers are typically used in places where the risk of electrical fires is high. IS 2190 states that CO2 extinguishers should be refilled if their service pressure falls below 5% of the maximum allowable pressure. To maintain their effectiveness, CO2 fire extinguishers should be refilled every 10 years.
3. Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers: Dry powder extinguishers are versatile and can be used for different types of fires. IS 2190 mandates refilling dry powder extinguishers when their service pressure drops below 10% of the maximum allowable pressure. It is advisable to refill these extinguishers every five years to ensure their reliability.
Factors Influencing Refilling Frequency
Apart from the type of fire extinguisher, several other factors can influence the frequency of refilling. These factors include the environment in which the extinguisher is located, the exposure to extreme temperatures, and the possibility of accidental damages. In certain situations, it may be necessary to refill fire extinguishers more frequently to ensure their readiness in case of emergencies.
Importance of Timely Refilling
Timely refilling of fire extinguishers is of paramount importance to maintain effective fire safety. Neglecting the recommended refilling frequency may result in malfunctioning equipment that could fail in the event of a fire. When a fire extinguisher is not refilled promptly, its pressure may drop, diminishing its ability to dispense the extinguishing agent effectively. This can have severe consequences in emergency situations when every second counts.
Regular refilling of fire extinguishers as per IS 2190 guidelines is crucial for maintaining optimal fire safety. The refilling frequency depends on the type of extinguisher and its service pressure requirements. Neglecting to refill fire extinguishers promptly may leave a building vulnerable to fire incidents. It is essential to prioritize fire extinguisher maintenance and ensure that they are always in proper working condition. By following the recommended refilling frequency, property owners and occupants can minimize potential fire risks and create a safer environment.