Yes, you really need to have your fire extinguisher serviced!

There was a fire in a workplace in Adelaide yesterday. There will be one today and there will be one tomorrow!

That is what statistics from the fire service combined with our experience tell us. So while fires might not be common in your workplace, they certainly are a very common occurrence in workplaces across Adelaide every single day.

So one day sooner or later, chances are that the fire of the day will be at your workplace. And when it is your turn, you have ONE chance to get it under control. Your best tools to prevent it growing bigger are your fire extinguisher, your hose reel and your fire blankets – the so-called first attack fire safety equipment.

You can use these tools in your workplace to minimise and put the fire out – if they have been serviced regularly and are fully operational that is. But imagine that you have a fire in your workplace and only then realize that the extinguishers have not been serviced and therefore do not work as intended leaving you unable to put the fire out. This happens regularly.

We often see that fire extinguishers are hung back up on the wall after being partly used on a fire, but over time the fire extinguisher will go flat and be useless to anybody. In terms of fire blankets, what we have found is that people use them, and if there’s only minor damage to them, they fold them up and put them back in the container.

But the area that has been scorched by the fire will over time continue to degrade leaving you with a fire blanket with a hole in it, which basically is a useless fire blanket, as they work by smothering the fire. With a hole in it, it doesn’t do its job and it doesn’t smother the fire.

In a matter of a few minutes a small fire can grow and completely engulf the room or area in which the fire started. The short time frame is also the reason why it is better that you put a small fire out while someone else calls the fire service. The metropolitan fire service (MFS) will often need at least 10 minutes before reaching your address to start fighting the fire.

Those few minutes can be the difference between a small fire being the drama of the day and your workplace completely disrupted by fire, which is why it is of utmost importance that the first attack safety equipment is serviced regularly and kept fully functional.

If you are running a business, a disruptive fire could affect your operation on a permanent basis. We know that the majority of businesses do not recover very well from a fire because they don’t have a contingency plan in place on how to continue their business once it has been disrupted by fire.

Take for example a restaurant. If it has been gutted by fire, the place will need to be cleared out, repainted and if the MFS has been there, you have water damage that needs to be cleaned up before you can put in the new appliances and anything else that has been damaged by the fire.

In the current climate, this could take three to six months to occur and over that period, you have most likely lost  your regulars. Having a working fire extinguisher, fire hose reel and fire blankets is a minor detail that may save you a major disruption.

Your first attack safety equipment is much like an insurance – you hope you never have to use it. But should you need it, you want it to be fully functional – that is why you need to have your equipment checked  every six months by a certified fire prevention expert .

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