Keeping suitable fire extinguishers in working order and close to hand is a vital part of any fire safety plan, whether you're running a public building or fighting fires in your own home. However, while fire extinguishers are necessarily robust and well constructed, they can still be vulnerable to accidental damage caused by knocks, scrapes and drops. Unprotected extinguishers can also present a tempting target for unscrupulous vandals and troublemakers -- as such, it's never a bad idea to give your fire extinguishers some form of physical protection. Fire extinguisher manufacturers therefore offer a range of protective devices designed to keep your fire extinguishers as safe and damage-free as possible:
These simple covers are made from natural or synthetic fabrics, and are simply slotted over a wall or floor-mounted fire extinguisher. While these soft coverings does little to protect an extinguisher against physical damage, they are excellent at protecting extinguishers from accumulated dust and detritus which can impair function of moving parts, as well as keeping away airborne moisture which can provoke rust. Most of these covers also feature a viewing window made of clear plastic, allowing firefighters to quickly and easily determine the type of extinguisher held within.
Commonly seen in commercial buildings, these wall-mounted cabinets are generally made from tough plastics or metal. As such, they are far more adept at protecting extinguishers from physical damage, and are particularly useful when placed in busy corridors or areas with heavy foot traffic. Most extinguisher cabinets are manufactured in bright, highly visible colours, which make locating an extinguisher much easier (particularly in rooms obscured by smoke). However, if you are installing extinguishers in your home and are worried about aesthetics, a number of stylish, minimalist cabinet types are also available.
Like covers, extinguisher cabinets almost always feature a viewing window for quick and easy extinguisher identification -- unlike covers, they are also designed to deter vandalism, and cannot be broken into easily. For added security many extinguisher cabinets are fitted with keyed locks, but you should bear in mind that this can prevent potential firefighters from reaching an extinguisher if the keys are lost or become inaccessible.
Most commonly seen on large industrial or commercial properties, extinguisher carts essentially consist of an oversized extinguisher cabinet on wheels, and are designed for quick and easy transport of large or multiple fire extinguishers. This makes them particularly useful on sites where larger fires are more likely to occur, or for use against complex fires (such as electrical or flammable liquid fires) which may require several types of extinguishing agent to fully suppress.
Despite the added mobility of these devices, they still provide excellent security comparable to that or particularly robust extinguisher cabinets. However, you should make sure that the cart itself is secured in place (using a lock which can be quickly unlocked with the right key) to make sure vandals and thieves can't simply wheel the whole cart away.
For more information, contact companies that specialise in fire extinguisher services.