Based on the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) report, the number of fire incidents in residential, commercial, and industrial premises in 2021 alone, was 1844 cases, with 194 injuries, and 3 fatalities.
Therefore, whether you are a homeowner, or facility manager of a commercial premise, educating yourself about basic fire prevention measures is key to protecting your home and workplace from potentially fatal incidents.
In the first of Fire Armour’s series of educational articles, our fire safety experts decide to tackle one of the most commonly asked questions by our customers, “How long do fire extinguishers last in Singapore?”.
How Long Do Fire Extinguishers Last in Singapore?
The short answer is that most portable fire extinguishers made based on the specifications of the Singapore Standards should last a minimum of 5 years.
However, depending on the conditions in which the fire extinguisher is stored, this shelf life could end up being as short as 6 months or as long as 20 years.
Hostile environments can cause the steel body and parts to experience wear and tear at a faster rate, while safe and air-conditioned environments can help preserve the integrity of the fire extinguisher.
Important Fact: Fire extinguishers must undergo hydrostatic testing every 5 years (for powder types) and every 10 years (for gas types) to ensure that they are in good working condition.
Common causes that shorten the lifespan of a fire extinguisher
Want to maximize the lifespan of your fire extinguisher so that it can be in good condition and keep you safe in the case of a fire? Make sure to avoid the following situations to take good care of them.
1. Exposure to weather
Constant exposure to weather is a sure-fire way to shorten the lifespan of a fire extinguisher.
Singapore is located along the equator which exposes us to high amounts of UV rays, causing significant deterioration to the seals on the fire extinguisher, and the rubber hose to harden up and crack.
The high humidity and rainy climate in Singapore are also bad for fire extinguishers as they can cause the metal base to rust if exposed to water over a long time.
Hence if you want to keep your fire extinguisher safe from weather exposure, make sure to keep it indoors, or at least in a dry and well-ventilated area.
If you have to place a fire extinguisher in the open and subject it to weather elements, consider one of our cabinets! We also carry cabinets that can withstand extended periods of exposure to UV rays.
2. Exposure to vibration
An unsuspecting factor of wear and tear to fire extinguishers is exposure to vibration. For instance, placing extinguisher units on moving vehicles like cars, lorries, forklifts, or ships, can subject them to vibration due to the motion of the vehicles.
The vibration that the fire extinguisher experiences can affect its longevity in two ways.
- The constant motion can cause increased wear and tear to the exterior and parts of the fire extinguisher.
- The vibrations can cause an unintended increase in pressure of the contents of the fire extinguisher making it dangerous to use.
Want to overcome these issues? Make sure that your extinguishers are secured with proper mounting brackets in vehicles to minimize motion and to always inspect your units weekly to ensure the pressure gauge is within the green safety zone.
3. Exposure to temperature
Due to the pressurized contents within, each fire extinguisher has an ideal operating temperature range indicated on its body. The unit must be stored in the specified temperature range to ensure that it can work as intended.
While we do not experience significant temperature fluctuations in tropical Singapore, there are common mistakes that people do make that could impact the temperature exposure.
For instance, for areas like freezer rooms of a food storage area, typical water-based fire extinguishers may not work as they will be frozen in such temperatures. Instead, one should opt for Hercules powder-type fire extinguishers that will work up to -20°C.
There are also cases where fire extinguishers are unknowingly placed next to water heaters. This is dangerous because the high temperatures will result in the gas pressure in fire extinguishers increasing significantly and can potentially cause an accident if over-pressurized CO2 fire extinguishers self-discharge.
Tip: To ensure that your work area is suitable for the specific model of fire extinguisher, make sure to check the temperature of the environment and the operating temperature range before purchase.
4. Exposure to humidity
Fire extinguishers are made of steel parts that are susceptible to corrosion and rusting when exposed to moisture and oxygen.
To avoid this problem, keep your fire extinguisher away from water sources like taps, the toilet, swimming pools, and saunas.
5. Exposure to mischief
While adults are aware of the importance of fire extinguishers and know how to handle them carefully, children may not.
It is a very common occurrence in schools where children play around with the fire extinguishers and end up damaging them accidentally by knocking them around.
The good news? The solution to this problem is simple – to educate children on the purpose of the life-saving equipment while keeping the fire extinguishers safe in a cabinet where it is protected from accidental damage.
Choose Fire Armour for your fire protection needs today!
Need fire protection for your home or commercial premises? Require disposal for your damaged fire extinguisers?
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