Fire extinguishers are undoubtedly some of the best fire safety products that should be installed on every residential, commercial and industrial building. Depending on the potential fire threats on the building, you can choose different types of fire extinguishers. Despite the greater value of fire extinguishers in saving lives are reducing the risk of damage to property during fire emergencies, mishandling them could turn out to be disastrous.
Similar to other related fire safety products, fire extinguishers also expire and wear out over time. Old and faulty fire extinguishers are classified as hazardous wastes that should be properly disposed of. In case your fire extinguisher is worn out, expired or damaged beyond repair, it should be immediately disposed of and replaced. However, fire extinguishers cannot be tossed into the ordinary garbage bins used in homes, offices or businesses.
Tips for Proper Fire Extinguishers Disposal
While most people understand the need for proper disposal of old, expired or badly damaged fire extinguishers, only a few often take the necessary actions. As a result, several old and expired fire extinguishers still hang on most buildings, which people could easily mistake for new ones. The risk of doing so is that it leaves the occupants of the buildings and your assets vulnerable whenever a fire emergency occurs.
On the other hand, failure to dispose of expired and old fire extinguishers could also land you in trouble of non-compliance during the routine fire inspections. The following are some of the guidelines for ensuring proper disposal of fire extinguishers.
How to determine an expired or old fire extinguisher
Disposable fire extinguishers have a standard lifespan of about 12 years. If your fire extinguisher has lasted for that period of time, it should be discarded even if still looks good. Disposable fire extinguishers typically come in smaller sizes. At the top of these fire extinguishers, there is a gauge that indicates if it is full or empty. After some time, the air pressure in the fire extinguishers slowly goes down, making the canister ineffective.
In case you realize the air pressure in the fire extinguisher is decreasing, it is always advisable to replace it. The fact that it cannot produce the fire suppressant element in the canister under high pressure hinders it from putting out fires rapidly and effectively as intended. As a result, using the fire extinguisher will only increase chances of injuries and other accidents as well as property damage during fire emergencies. Even if the fire extinguisher is still full but, expired, it should be properly discarded.
Fire extinguisher disposal for home owners
If the fire extinguisher ion your home is expired or damaged beyond repair, the first mistake that you should not make is placing the canister in the household bin. The best and most convenient way to dispose of the fire extinguisher is dropping it off at your local recycling centre. If you have CO2 or water fire extinguishers, you can opt to discharge them before dropping off at the recycling centre. In case you choose to do so, carefully read and observe the instructions for discharging the extinguishers.
Discharging water and CO2 fire extinguishers is simple but, requires an open space to avoid any risks. Before you start discharging CO2 fire extinguishers, always make sure that the horn and pipe is properly fitted onto the canister.
Foam fire extinguishers are also not hard to discharge but, require a lot of care since the contents can be toxic if they come into contact with the body. The hazardous chemicals in the canisters can also contaminate water and other environmental elements if not disposed of correctly. As such, the best way to dispose of them is taking the expired canisters to your nearest recycling centre.
Fire extinguisher disposal for commercial and industrial buildings
The fire extinguishers used in commercial and industrial buildings are usually inspected annually. It is during these inspections that the inspectors replace the expired or old fire extinguishers. Some companies will also handle the disposal of the fire extinguishers after replacement. In case the ones that conduct the inspections on your building do not offer fire extinguisher disposal services, you should simply hire a recycling company to collect and discard the items at your convenience.
If you are looking to replace expired and old fire extinguishers in your home, office, business or industrial premises, contact Fire Safety Singapore to supply the best quality portable fire extinguishers.