Fire extinguishers can be used by anyone who detects a fire, but for their effective use it is necessary that:

They are well located, visible and in good working order (in accordance with current legislation);
Contain the appropriate extinguishing agent to combat a fire;
The user has prior knowledge of the mode of operation and use thereof.

It is therefore essential that fire extinguishers are in perfect working order, and for this purpose the rules laid down regarding maintenance, inspection and recharging must be observed. Let us then specify what these three levels of procedures consist of.

  1. The inspection consists of the quick verification that the extinguisher is ready to act in its proper place, is properly charged and has not been violated. This action should be quarterly to certify that:
    • The extinguisher is in the proper place;
    • The equipment has no obstructed access that is visible and signposted;
    • Handling instructions are in Portuguese language and are readable;
    • The weight or pressure, as appropriate, is correct;
    • The external condition of the extinguisher body as well as the valve, hose and needle is adequate;
    • The seal is not violated.
  2. The maintenance of extinguishers consists of a set of technical and administrative actions, including verification actions intended to conserve the equipment and / or to restore them in their proper working condition. It should therefore be carried out annually by companies certified and registered for this purpose with the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC).
    • In the maintenance and inspection of extinguishers, technicians should ensure some measures:
      • Check seal and / or pressure gauge to determine if extinguisher has been used;
      • Check that the pressure gauge functions properly and – in extinguishers where the pressure gauge is not self-verifying or which does not have a pressure gauge – use appropriate ethods to check that the internal pressure is correct;
      • Examine the exterior of the extinguisher body and the valve assembly for corrosion, dents, cracks or other damage that could compromise the safety of the equipment;
        Weigh the extinguisher;
      • Remove the hose and diffuser to make sure that they are not clogged, worn or broken;
      • In dust extinguishers, if the dust is within the expiration date, the technician should shake it by inverting the extinguisher and shake it. If the dust does not flow freely, it should be completely discharged by refilling the extinguisher with fresh dust;
    • In water extinguishers with additives and foam, the load should be emptied. If the additive is in a separate container, remove it and check its tightness and validity.
  3. Finally, extinguishers should be recharged whenever they have been partially or fully discharged or, after inspection and maintenance, are found to require recharging. Outside these situations, extinguishers are recharged at five, 10 and 15 years.

It is also worth remembering that, whenever extinguishers are removed from the condominium for maintenance or refilling, they must be replaced by others of the same type and with the same effectiveness.

After all procedures established in NP4413 / 2006 are completed, the technician will reassemble the extinguisher, replacing the safety pin and seal. Afterwards, the data of the maintenance label are completed, the extinguisher support is checked and the report of the works performed is written.