Large dry powder fire extinguishers – safety alert

Published:  13 August, 2015

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive warning follows operating failure of multiple extinguishers during a recent incident.

The safety alert refers to the Norfolk Range of large wheeled dry powder fire extinguishers manufactured before 2009 by UK Fire International Ltd, and which are used widely in the chemical, nuclear, manufacturing, oil, gas, mining and marine industries.

The problem first came to light at a recent fire on a chemical plant where three wheeled dry powder fire extinguishers, containing 45kg of Monnex dry powder, failed to discharge when activated.

HSE examined the three faulty units and found that each had rust visible on the inside of the threaded elbow joint coupling the discharge hose and the base of the unit.

The extinguishers had been kept outdoors under plastic covers and had been serviced every six months. The service engineers had noted the rust but it was not thought to affect the operation of the units.

The HSE is encouraging organisations with these units to check if they are likely to have been exposed to adverse conditions since their last extended revision. “If yes and the extinguisher has been left exposed to adverse conditions since its last extended service, the condition of the elbow joint at the base of the unit should be examined by a competent service engineer.”

The HSE says that companies that are unsure whether the safety alert affects their extinguishers should contact Britannia Fire Ltd.

Post 2009 models – which carry discharge hoses connected to the top of the unit – are not affected by the safety alert.

To read the full safety alert, click here.

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