It’s a fact. The British Standard, BS 5306-3, requires all fire extinguishers to be inspected and serviced annually by a competent person (i.e. a qualified engineer).  The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) was developed to ensure accountability of fire safety in commercial premises through the appointment of  a ‘responsible person’.  As a result, the responsible person of a business premises of all sizes and sectors must ensure that this service happens at the right time, every year

Whoever is responsible for fire safety must be aware of their duties regarding fire extinguisher inspections to protect the lives of employees and visitors on site and to avoid legal repercussions and reputational harm (if a business is found to be non-compliant with fire extinguisher inspection regulations following a fire).

But what does a fire extinguisher servicing and inspection involve?  Hartson Fire has been carrying out servicing for more than 20 years. Our team of experienced engineers have put together these guidelines for business owners to ensure they are compliant and getting the best service possible. 

The Importance of Fire Extinguisher Inspections

In the event of an emergency, fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers are vital when it comes to protecting lives and property.  Unfortunately, there are several factors which can affect the performance of a fire extinguisher. These include tampering and vandalism, adverse weather conditions and accidental damage or discharge, which make the extinguisher unfit for purpose.

The responsible person must arrange for a fire risk assessment, to be undertaken identifying the premises’ fire risks, before taking actions to minimise or remove the severity and likelihood of each risk. All findings of the fire risk assessment and fire extinguisher inspections must be recorded in the premises’ fire logbook,  internal report and audit records.

An annual inspection involves a qualified engineer inspecting each extinguisher and identifying any faults along with measures to remedy the faults, which sometimes may involve replacement extinguishers.

Carrying Out Fire Safety Inspections

It is the role of the responsible person to arrange a fire extinguisher service; but it is the place of a qualified engineer (usually referred to as the ‘competent person’) to physically carry out the inspection.

It is also down to the responsible person to ensure that the engineer or technician appointed to carry out the inspection and servicing is competent and that all work meets the standards set out in the BS 5306-3.  Ideally, a BAFE accredited company is the best option as only companies who meet this organisations stringent standards are on the BAFE register.

Top quality companies, like Hartson Fire, don’t rely on the responsible person in each of their customer’s business to notify them when a service is due.  We have in place software programmes which alert us when a client’s service is due and we then contact them to book the inspection and service ourselves – taking the headache away from the business. 

We also have in place a number of accreditations which gives peace of mind to our clients knowing that we have achieved the high standards set out in these accreditations.  These include Construction Line and CHAS which enable us to work on all types of construction sites as well as being on the BAFE register.

Frequency of Fire Extinguisher Inspections

The BS 5306-3 standard stipulates that fire extinguishers are serviced by a trained and qualified technician at least once a year.

Importantly, an extended service, which involves a more thorough inspection, must also be carried out every five years for almost all types of fire extinguisher. The only exception  is a CO2 fire extinguisher, which requires replacing every 10 years.

What to Expect from a Harston Fire Extinguisher Service?

While fire extinguishers must be serviced annually, the responsible person must also carry out monthly visual checks of all fire extinguishers. This includes making sure units are in the correct locations, highlighted by appropriate fire safety signage, undented and undamaged, and all safety pins are intact.

During an annual fire extinguisher service, our engineers will carry out more rigorous tests. We will:

  • Visually inspect the fire extinguisher to check for corrosion and damage
  • Check the safety pin and tamper seal are intact
  • Take the pressure gauge reading
  • Check the instructions on the fire extinguisher are clear and legible
  • Remove the discharge hose and check for obstructions or damage
  • Weigh and wipe down the fire extinguisher
  • Ensure wall mountings (where applicable) are secure and well-maintained
  • Risk assess the area and make sure it is the correct fire extinguisher for the risk(s)
  • Ensure all signage related to the fire extinguisher is correct and conforms to current standards.

Each fire extinguisher will either pass the inspection or be marked defective. The engineer will place defective fire extinguishers into one of two categories; condemned, meaning the fire extinguisher must be disposed of and replaced, or corrective action required, where repairs or further fire safety measures are needed.

Book Your Hartson Fire Service Today

If these guidelines have given you food for thought, then contact Hartson Fire today to book a service of your fire safety equipment.  As mentioned, all our customers benefit from being listed on our technical software so when an annual service is due, we get in touch with you.

You can call us on the number below or email