Hydrostatic Test versus Inspection versus Maintenance

Hydrostatic Test versus Inspection versus Maintenance

 

Speaking with fire personnel it appears that most know that the cylinders they use are required to be tested and/or inspected every 5 years. They have a system in place to send the cylinders out to an independent inspector for the process. However, when asked who cares or maintains the cylinders within this 5 year period, not many of them had answers.

The cylinders used in fire service are subject to strenuous situations and placed in conditions that few other cylinders are exposed. Whether a cylinder is used at a fire scene, chemical spill or unknown alarm call, they have the potential of coming in contact with substances which have the ability to weaken their structural integrity.

 

The Hydrostatic Test is designed to ensure that the cylinder expands and contracts within a specific standard. The hydrostatic requalifiers will also conduct an inspection of the cylinder EVERY FIVE YEARS. I don’t think anyone would argue that the cylinders are exposed to hazards more often than every five years.

 

Fire Departments, or anyone who utilizes high pressure cylinders, should have a regular inspection protocol in place to ensure the cylinders are not damaged prior to their 5 year requalification. Nothing states that the cylinder can not be requalified within the 5 year period if the cylinder is exposed to a hazard or damage is found which is questionable. Anytime a user suspects the cylinder has damage which affects its structural integrity the cylinder should be pulled from service and inspected.

NFPA-1852 - section7.1.2.4 covers the breathing air cylinder. The NFPA standard also requires a daily inspection of the cylinder (along with the SCBA) if it is assigned to an individual. The user should be trained in what to look for and what damage is acceptable and what conditions would dictate that the cylinder be removed from service.

 

Formal inspection training involving cylinders used in the fire service should be a top priority. Users should know what hazards can harm a cylinder and what damage makes a cylinder more susceptible to failure. The user should also be aware that they can clean and maintain their cylinders within the 5 year requalification period. Regular and routine maintenance will help ensure the cylinder remains in service during its stated service life (commonly 15 years).

Speaking with fire personnel it appears that most know that the cylinders they use are required to be tested and/or inspected every 5 years. They have a system in place to send the cylinders out to an independent inspector for the process. However, when asked who cares or maintains the cylinders within this 5 year period, not many of them had answers.

The cylinders used in fire service are subject to strenuous situations and placed in conditions that few other cylinders are exposed. Whether a cylinder is used at a fire scene, chemical spill or unknown alarm call, they have the potential of coming in contact with substances which have the ability to weaken their structural integrity.

 

The Hydrostatic Test is designed to ensure that the cylinder expands and contracts within a specific standard. The hydrostatic requalifiers will also conduct an inspection of the cylinder EVERY FIVE YEARS. I don’t think anyone would argue that the cylinders are exposed to hazards more often than every five years.

 

Fire Departments, or anyone who utilizes high pressure cylinders, should have a regular inspection protocol in place to ensure the cylinders are not damaged prior to their 5 year requalification. Nothing states that the cylinder can not be requalified within the 5 year period if the cylinder is exposed to a hazard or damage is found which is questionable. Anytime a user suspects the cylinder has damage which affects its structural integrity the cylinder should be pulled from service and inspected.

 

NFPA-1852 - section7.1.2.4 covers the breathing air cylinder. The NFPA standard also requires a daily inspection of the cylinder (along with the SCBA) if it is assigned to an individual. The user should be trained in what to look for and what damage is acceptable and what conditions would dictate that the cylinder be removed from service.

 

Formal inspection training involving cylinders used in the fire service should be a top priority. Users should know what hazards can harm a cylinder and what damage makes a cylinder more susceptible to failure. The user should also be aware that they can clean and maintain their cylinders within the 5 year requalification period. Regular and routine maintenance will help ensure the cylinder remains in service during its stated service life (commonly 15 years).