Fixed or semi-permanent fire-fighting devices, which are activated either automatically or manually, are used to fight or detect a fire and to limit its effects. Fire alarm and warning systems include.
- fire alarm receiving equipment
- signalling and alarm equipment
- evacuation lighting installations
- fire dampers
- smoke extractors
- hydrants and their valves
In order to extinguish a fire in its initial phase, hand-held fire-fighting equipment is used, i.e. fire-fighting units, fireballs, hydronets, fire extinguishers, uprising hydrants and fire blankets. One of the advantages of handheld fire extinguishing equipment is its ease of use and low weight. This allows it to be used by people without special qualifications. Its method of use is usually found on a label that is stuck directly on the equipment. Fire extinguishing balls, on the other hand, are polystyrene balls fitted with a pyrotechnic charge with a powdered extinguishing filling. The ball must be thrown into the fire. This causes an explosion and the fire to be covered with extinguishing material.
Fire-fighting equipment regulations
According to the applicable standards in Poland, fire extinguishing appliances must be serviced and maintained at least once a year. This means a periodic check of the technical condition of the fire extinguishing equipment and units. In addition, the rules contained in the operating instructions for the equipment in question, which individually specify the frequency of maintenance activities set by the manufacturer, must be observed. In exceptional cases, e.g. in offshore, mining, chemical industries or buildings with special hazards, the maintenance and inspection intervals may be more frequent, as they affect the extinguishing efficiency and technical condition. This is decided by the facility administrator. The technical inspection is intended to ensure that the equipment is working properly when it is needed. Part of the inspection is maintenance, which restores the technical performance of the equipment in question without repairing it. Repair, on the other hand, is a workshop operation to restore the proper functioning of the equipment, including assembly and disassembly of the equipment, cleaning, painting, replacement of the extinguishing agent and appropriate strength testing, as well as special marking of the equipment. The date and correspondingly set date for the next service shall be marked on the extinguisher. The service shall be documented by a protocol.
When should a review take place?
The review is mandatory for:
- fire doors and gates
- internal hydrants and their components
- devices to prevent the spread of smoke
- smoke extraction devices
- evacuation lighting components and installations
- portable and mobile fire extinguishers
- fixed and semi-permanent fire extinguishing systems
- components and devices of fire alarm and voice evacuation systems which make it possible to give voice announcements and warning signals for safety purposes
Hoses that are part of the equipment of internal hydrants should be pressure tested by checking the maximum working pressure. All necessary details are included in the Polish Standard for the maintenance of these hydrants. The test should take place once every 5 years. The same rule applies to most fire extinguishers. Furthermore, it is suggested to replace their extinguishing agent at the same time. Pressure vessels of fire extinguishers with a volume of more than 5 dm3 should also be regularly tested and legalised by the UDT (Office of Technical Inspection). However, the snow extinguisher is an exception. It has an expiry date of up to 10 years and the date of the last UDT test can be checked on the top of the cylinder, where it has been stamped. Fire extinguishers equipped with a pressure gauge should be maintained regardless of the imposed periodic inspections. The indicator should be the arrow below the scale area marked in green. The same applies to extinguishers that have been previously test-fired or when the extinguisher lever has been operated. Also when a knocker has been hammered in or a valve has been placed outside which releases the propelling gas agent. Fire extinguishers with broken seals that have been placed on the actuating lever, safety valve or cylinder valve by the maintainer or manufacturer are also included under the maintenance order. In addition, extinguishers with mechanical damage, including a broken pressure gauge, crooked valve, missing knob, corrosion or a cut or hole in the hose. Especially when they do not have a legible test expiry date on the control. If you want to carry out proper maintenance or overhaul of your appliance, it is essential to have specialised equipment, quality spare parts and the right chemicals to refill the extinguishers. It is worth remembering how important it is to entrust this task to proven and authorised companies or individuals. By entrusting our equipment to unauthorised companies, we can expect a rapid breakdown or a breach of fire safety regulations, with inevitable consequences. All servicing should be carried out in accordance with the guidelines imposed by the manufacturers and the standards that guarantee the maintenance of the correct technical performance of each type of equipment. By choosing an establishment providing the highest standard of services offered and dedicated exclusively to carrying out equipment overhauls and technical inspections, we can rest assured that it will be carried out as required.