Overcharged fire extinguishers are a serious danger, and you should avoid having them overcharged no matter what. While it is common to acknowledge the dangers of an inoperable fire extinguisher, knowing what happens when one is overcharged is just as important. Extinguishers that lack the necessary pressure won’t work in critical situations, but overcharged ones cause entirely different problems. Here are the dangers that come with an overcharged fire extinguisher. The problems you face will vary based on the extinguisher you’re using.
Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers
If you use a CO2 fire extinguisher and it gets overfilled, you could rupture what is known as the burst disc. This releases all of the carbon dioxide inside of the extinguisher. You’re likely not going to face a powerful explosion, but you will be at risk for suffocation if you are in an enclosed place. If you experience a CO2 explosion, you will have to get the burst disc replaced, and you may even have to replace the valve too.
Water Extinguishers + Compressed Air
Fire extinguishers that utilize water and compressed air aren’t nearly as likely to cause significant damage. Instead, they will probably end up damaging the relief valve at the most. If the pressure gets brought back to normal, it will trigger a safety valve. This should be the limit of the damage that can be caused because any compressed air that leaks out of the fire extinguisher is safe to inhale.
Nitrogen Fire Extinguishers
If you are using a dry chemical fire extinguisher, understand that these extinguishers can potentially blow the relief valve when pressurized. Since nitrogen will displace oxygen, you put yourself at risk for suffocation when you are in an enclosed area, much like with CO2 fire extinguishers.
What Can I Do to Keep Fire Extinguishers in Good Condition?
Inspections are key to spotting problems with fire extinguishers before you’re put in a bad situation. First off, make sure your extinguishers are easy to access in the event of an emergency. Second, see if there seem to be signs of damage. Are the service tag and serial number still legible? Do you notice any cracks? Noticing problems with your fire extinguisher early allows you to be proactive and get it either repaired or replaced before an emergency arises.
To prevent explosions from happening, keep an eye on your pressure gauge. That gauge should be in whatever the optimal range is. Get a professional to help you if it’s not in that optimal range.
Lastly, take a look at your inspection tag to figure out when your extinguisher was last checked. Knowing that information will let you know if a professional has to come take a look at it.
KEEP YOURSELF SAFE WITH ANDERSON FIRE PROTECTION, INC.
Anderson Fire Protection, Inc. has the expertise and skill to help your home or commercial property for all your fire protection needs. We have been working in the Maryland, Northern Virginia, Southern Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. areas for over 25 years. We are known for our top-notch customer service and high-quality results. If you are ready for fantastic fire prevention and protection services, from fire sprinkler installation to fire alarm design and to consult, give us a call at (410) 796-4915 or visit us online.