How often should I test my smoke alarms?

No exact answer exists regarding how often a smoke alarm should be tested. However, smoke alarms should be tested on a regular basis. This could be weekly or bi-weekly. We suggest a weekly basis to ensure the most optimal protection. The batteries should be replaced at least once a year to ensure they are working. The entire smoke alarm should be replaced every 10 years.

Can children use fire extinguishers, and if so, what age is appropriate?

Children should only really use a fire extinguisher under adult supervision. Most importantly it’s essential to teach them how to use one safely. There isn’t a specific age requirement for fire extinguishers. It’s generally recommended that children be at least 12 to 14 years old before being entrusted with operating a fire extinguisher. At this age, they may have the physical and cognitive abilities needed to handle a fire emergency. It’s crucial to emphasise to children fire safety education, prevention, and escape plans. These are more important for children than extinguishing fires themselves.

How often should fire extinguisher training be conducted in the workplace?

In the workplace, fire extinguisher training should typically be conducted annually. This is to ensure that employees are well-prepared to respond effectively in case of a fire emergency. Regular training helps to familiarise workers with the proper use of fire extinguishers and reinforces fire safety protocols. This therefore contributes to a safer working environment. However, the exact frequency may vary depending on the specific workplace and its risk assessment, so it’s advisable to consult with local authorities and follow any regulations or recommendations they provide.

When should I use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire?

A fire extinguisher should only be used for smaller-scale fires that can be contained. If there is a great threat of the fire quickly spreading out of control, it is safest to evacuate immediately. If the fire cannot be extinguished by the fire extinguisher and grows or becomes uncontrollable, this is where it starts to get dangerous. The area should be evacuated immediately and the fire service should be called.

What is the PASS technique for using a fire extinguisher?

The PASS technique is a simple and effective method for using a fire extinguisher to control and extinguish small fires. PASS is an acronym that stands for:


  1. Pull: Start by pulling the safety pin or ring from the handle of the fire extinguisher. This step will allow you to discharge the extinguishing agent.


  1. Aim: Point the nozzle or hose of the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire, not at the flames themselves. Aiming at the base ensures that you’re targeting the source of the fire and not just the visible flames.


  1. Squeeze: Squeeze the handle or lever to release the extinguishing agent. By doing this, you can release the suppressant material to smother the fire.


  1. Sweep: While keeping the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire, sweep from side to side to cover the entire area of the fire. Continue sweeping until the fire is fully extinguished.


Remember to stay at a safe distance from the fire and have an escape route in case the fire cannot be controlled. The PASS technique is a valuable tool for quickly and effectively tackling small fires, but it’s essential to prioritise safety and call the fire department for larger or more dangerous fires. To learn more about PASS and all the techniques, find our more comprehensive guide to using fire extinguishers HERE.

How often should fire extinguishers be inspected and maintained?

Fire extinguishers should be inspected and maintained as follows:


  • Monthly Inspections: Conduct visual checks, ensuring the fire extinguisher is undamaged, the pressure gauge is within the recommended range, and the tamper seal is intact.


  • Annual Inspections: In addition to monthly checks, perform a more thorough inspection, including confirming the pin, tamper seal, and instructions are in good condition, and the nozzle/hose is unobstructed.


  • Professional Maintenance: Have a certified fire protection specialist perform professional maintenance at least once a year, which may include refilling, internal inspection, and pressure testing.


  • Recharging and Refilling: Promptly recharge extinguishers after any use and replace partially or fully discharged units.


Adhering to these guidelines helps ensure your fire extinguishers remain in good working order, ready for use in case of a fire emergency.

Why do fire extinguishers need to be mounted?

It is important to place fire extinguishers securely on a stand or hook to avoid them falling or damaging. This also makes them easier to access in an emergency. Apart from the accessibility concerns, fire extinguishers positioned on the ground could be more vulnerable to rust. When an extinguisher is left standing up, it can be accidentally kicked or struck, causing corrosion-resistant coatings to come off

What are the disadvantages of co2 fire extinguishers?

As the temperature of an extinguisher horn rapidly drops and freezes over, there is a risk that your hands will get ice burns. Since CO2 works by displacing the oxygen around the fire, it should not be used outside or in windy environments. CO2 is a high pressured extinguisher. It might make a class A or class F fire worse by being used on them. In small, enclosed spaces, users should exercise caution when discharging large amounts of CO2.

How does a co2 fire extinguisher work?

Carbon dioxide extinguishes work by replacing oxygen, or taking away the oxygen component of the fire triangle. As it exits the extinguisher, the carbon dioxide is also extremely cold, which cools the fuel as well. CO2s might not be able to displace enough oxygen to completely put out Class A fires, making them ineffective at doing so. Class A materials have the potential to smoulder and re-ignite.