Gas Extinguishing Standard Part 8

February 2002 Fire & Safety

Part 1: May 2001

Part 2: June 2001

Part 3: July 2001

Part 4: September 2001

Part 5: October 2001

Part 6: November 2001

Part 7: December 2001

The SABS has approved and is legislating the adoption of ISO 14520 as the clean agent gas extinguishing standard in South Africa. In this issue, we conclude our comprehensive look at this standard.

Inspection, maintenance, testing and training


This clause specifies the requirements for inspection, maintenance and testing of a gaseous fire-extinguishing system and for the training of inspection and maintenance personnel.


At least annually or more frequently as required by the authority, all systems shall be thoroughly inspected and tested for proper operation by competent personnel.

* The inspection report with recommendations shall be fitted with the owner.

* At least every 6 months, the container contents shall be checked as follows:

a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon extinguishants, if a container shows a loss in extinguishant quantity of more than 5% or a loss in pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10%, it shall be refilled or replaced.

b) Nonliquefied gases: for inert gas extinguishants that are not liquefied, pressure is an indication of extinguishants quantity. Unless otherwise specified by the authority, if an inert gas extinguishant container shows a loss in pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 5%, it shall be refilled or replaced. Where container pressure gauges or weight-monitoring devices are used for this purpose, they shall be compared to a separate calibrated device at least annually.

All extinguishant removed from containers during service or maintenance procedures shall be collected and recycled, or disposed of in an environmentally sound manner, and in accordance with existing laws and regulations.

Inert gas mixtures based on those gases normally found in the earth's atmosphere are exempted from this requirement.

The date of inspection and the name of the person performing the inspection shall be recorded on a tag attached to the container.


Containers shall be subjected to periodical tests as required by the relevant national standard.


All system hoses shall be examined annually for damage. If visual examination shows any defect, the hose shall be replaced.


At least every 12 months it shall be determined whether boundary penetration or other changes to the protected enclosure have occurred that could affect leakage and extinguishant performance. If this cannot be visually determined, it shall be positively established by repeating the test for enclosure integrity.

Where the integrity test reveals increased leakage that would result in an inability to retain the extinguishant for the required period, remedial action shall be carried out.

Where it is established that changes to the volume of the enclosure or to the type of hazard within the enclosure, or both, have occurred, the systems shall be redesigned to provide the original degree of protection.

It is recommended that the type of hazard within the enclosure, and the volume it occupies, be regularly checked to ensure that the required concentration of extinguishant can be achieved and maintained.


The user shall carry out a programme of inspection, arrange a service schedule, and keep records of the inspections and servicing.

Note: The continued capability for effective performance of a fire fighting system depends on fully adequate service procedures with, where possible, periodic testing.

Installers should provide the user with a record in which inspection and service details can be entered.

User's programme of inspection

The installer shall provide the user with an inspection programme for the system and components. The programme shall include instructions on the action to be taken in respect of faults.

The user's inspection programme is intended to detect faults at an early stage to allow rectification before the system may have to operate. A suitable programme is as follows:

a) Weekly: Visually check the hazard and the integrity of the enclosure for changes which might reduce the efficiency of the system. Carry out a visual check that there is no obvious damage to pipework and that all operating controls and components are properly set and undamaged. Check pressure gauges and weighing devices, if fitted, for correct reading and take the appropriate action specified in the users' manual.

b) Monthly: Check that all personnel who may have to operate the equipment or system are properly trained and authorised to do so and, in particular, that new employees have been instructed in its use.

Service schedule

A service schedule shall include requirements for periodic inspection and test for the complete installed system, including pressurised containers, as specified in the appropriate national standards.

The schedule shall be carried out by a competent person who shall provide to the user a signed, dated report of the inspection, advising any rectification carried out or needed.

During servicing, every care and precaution shall be taken to avoid release of extinguishant.


All persons who may be expected to inspect, test, maintain or operate fire-extinguishing systems shall be trained and kept adequately trained in the functions they are expected to perform.

Personnel working in an enclosure protected by a gaseous extinguishant shall receive training in the operation and use of the system, in particular regarding safety issues.

For further details contact the FDIA on tel: (011) 397 1618.

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