UAE: How often do we need to check fire extinguishers at home, workplace?

A portable extinguisher is the first line of defence against blaze and residents often neglect to check it, says expert

by

Angel Tesorero

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Intersec 2024 event in Dubai. Photos: Angel Tesorero
Intersec 2024 event in Dubai. Photos: Angel Tesorero

Published: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 6:52 PM

Last updated: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 11:45 PM

The fire extinguisher is one important household and office item that we often neglect. And when a fire breaks out, one of the worst things that could happen is to find out the extinguisher is not working.

“Don’t ever let this happen,” a senior official from Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the ongoing Intersec 2024, a three-day global trade fair for safety, security, and fire protection that opened in Dubai on Tuesday.

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Khalid Khamis Omar, head of company approvals at DCD, said periodic inspection of fire extinguishers at home and work areas is a must. “Inspection depends on the type of fire extinguisher. But for those used at homes, it is highly advised to have them checked quarterly or every three months.”

Omar said residents often neglect to check if fire extinguishers are working. “Worse, some people use them incorrectly,” he said, noting: “There are those who use fire extinguishers as door holders. Some think they are an eye sore, so they put them in the storage area.”

“These are all wrong. Although, of course, we hope we never have to use one, it is very important to ensure that a portable fire extinguisher is operable at all times, especially when you need it most,” he underscored.

Quick check

A portable fire extinguisher is the first line of defence against fire. Omar noted the following simple steps to ensure it works reliably and effectively in case of emergency.

  • Make sure the fire extinguisher is placed at its proper location and always visible
  • Remove obstructions blocking its view or easy access
  • Ensure the pressure gauge is operable
  • Make sure it is full – this can be done by lifting the extinguisher
  • Look for obvious signs of physical damage, such as corrosion, leakage, or dents.
  • Make sure the pull-pin is not missing and the pull pin seal is intact.
  • Check the date of the last professional inspection
  • Call the attention of the building management if professional inspection is behind schedule

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