Most business owners and property managers understand how important it is to have a fully-functioning set of fire extinguishers. These must be placed strategically and in accordance with government regulations, but they must also be checked from time to time to ensure they are in working condition. While there must always be a sufficient amount of pressure to release the contents, did you know that there is such a thing as too much pressure? What kind of risk can this pose, and how can you ensure that your extinguishers have just the right amount of pressure at all times?

How Things Work

Fire extinguishers come in all shapes and sizes but, fundamentally, the activation process is the same. The canister must be filled with the appropriate product, and above the top of the canister is a pull or push pin firing mechanism. The operator will need to remove the safety pin before pressing the handle, typically puncturing the canister valve and releasing the pressurised contents.

Under Pressure

Of course, those contents will need to be placed into the canister under pressure so that when activated, such contents will escape at high velocity to smother the flames. This process has to be handled carefully so that the volume is correct and held under constant pressure.

At the Ready

As time goes by, the pressure will naturally drop off, which is why most extinguishers have to be recharged so that they are always ready. Usually, the device will have a gauge with a pointer that should always be within the green sector. This shows that the pressure level is correct, and if the pointer drops into the red, the extinguisher will need to be serviced.

What Can Go Wrong

When it comes to the risks of over-pressurisation, much will depend on the nature of the content. If your extinguishers use compressed air and water, the damage is likely to be caused to the valve system, and this could render the unit inoperable. If you have a dry chemical extinguisher using pressurised nitrogen, the relief valve may be blown, leading to the release of toxic gas. Likewise, an over-pressurised CO2 extinguisher can rupture, raising the risk of an explosion in the worst-case scenario.

Working with Experts

Clearly, it's important to maintain these units at all times and keep up with those regular checks. It's equally important to choose a technician with experience and someone who knows how to pressurise the fire extinguishers correctly.

For more information, contact a professional who deals with fire equipment