fire extinguisher inspections requirements

fire extinguisher inspections requirements
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fire extinguisher inspections requirements: So, in this blog, we will try to cover a to z about fire extinguishers such as a checklist for fire extinguisher inspection. How often do you inspect fire extinguishers? What are the 4 types of fire extinguishers? What does the tag on a fire extinguisher mean? What is fire extinguisher signage? NFPA fire extinguisher inspection requirements. What is the OSHA Standard for fire extinguishers etc?

There is nothing worse than needing an extinguisher in an emergency and finding that it is not charged and not working. Portable fire extinguishers are often our first line of defence against small fires. There are three different sections – inspection, testing and maintenance. In each section, there is information on what to do ( Procedures), who can do the work ( Ratings), how often ( frequency), and how to document the work (Recordkeeping).

Like any rescue equipment, you should make sure it is operational at all times so that it works when you need it most. With the proper inspection, test, and maintenance protocols, fire extinguishers can be long-lasting and reliable options for fighting a small fire right from the start.

You have to keep in mind that fire extinguishers don’t last forever. This blog will address the requirements of NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers that help ensure your extinguisher is ready. Fire emergencies often happen when we least expect them.

Fire extinguishers are fire protection devices that are very useful in case of fire. Maintenance is the key to maximizing their use. So you should have them inspected. Now you need to fire extinguisher inspection requirements. The inspection of portable fire extinguishers is extremely important for the protection of companies and homes. So, it is important to know a little bit about fire extinguishers.

What are the 4 types of fire extinguishers?

A common fire extinguisher we see in our homes and other establishments. It is an active fire protection device for extinguishing or controlling small fires. But it can not recommend for use on massive fires that require the expertise of professional firefighters. There are four types of fire extinguishers and they have different uses for different types of fires.

fire extinguisher inspections requirements
fire extinguisher inspections requirements

You must know all its types, uses and fire extinguisher inspection requirements to be very precise and very helpful when the time comes when you take responsibility for its use. Class A fire extinguishers put out fires in common fuels like wood and paper. Class B fire extinguisher for use in flammable liquids and gas such as grease, gasoline, and oil. Class C extinguisher – suitable for use only on electrically energized fire, Class D extinguisher is for use on flammable metals.

Note: Due to the higher heating rates of oils in commercial kitchen appliances. Class K extinguishers use on fires involving cooking media (fats, and oils) in commercial kitchens.

How often do you inspect fire extinguishers?

We need to know how often a fire extinguisher should be inspected to ensure it is in optimal working order in the event of a fire. You must know certain fire extinguisher inspection requirements, either monthly, every 6 years or annually. Each inspection varies and it is necessary to hire a professional to perform the annual and semi-annual inspections due to the fire extinguisher inspection requirements.

Depending on the type of inspection being performed, there are different recommendations and requirements for the time between inspections. Here are three ways that fire extinguishers should be tested and the schedule for each.

Visual inspections of the extinguisher: once a month

Owners must carry out a visual inspection of portable fire extinguishers at least once a month. Visual inspection does not need to be certified to perform an inspection. Any competent and knowledgeable person should be able to do it. Conducting an inspection is the easiest thing you can do to ensure that your fire extinguisher can be used reliably and effectively in an emergency. Visual inspection of your fire extinguishers helps to ensure several important points:

Fire extinguisher visual inspection checklist

  • The extinguisher is still present in its designated location,
  • No damage has occurred to the equipment, such as corrosion, leaks, or dents.
  • No obstructions blocking the view or easy access to equipment,
  • The extinguisher is fully charged, this can be done by simply lifting the extinguisher or you can weigh it
  • Make sure the pressure gauge is still at the green level in the operating range
  • Make sure you can easily access the extinguisher
  • For wheeled fire extinguishers, make sure the condition of the tires, wheels, cart, hose and nozzle is acceptable
  • Make sure the pin is not missing and that the pin seal is intact.
  • Check the date of the last professional inspection.
  • Put the date, mark the monthly visual inspection and your initials on the back of the label to record the monthly visual inspection.

Fire extinguisher maintenance inspections: once a year

Employers must perform a full maintenance check on portable fire extinguishers in their workplace once a year. “Maintenance” means a thorough examination and repair, as necessary, of all portable fire extinguishers in your facility. A professional fire protection company will do the annual fire extinguisher maintenance inspections.

fire extinguisher inspections requirements
fire extinguisher inspections requirements

They will be responsible for the detailed cross-checking of your fire extinguisher. The technician will also check for modifications that could reduce the effectiveness of each extinguisher. Certification requires a person to take a test acceptable to the competent authority. A certified person needs, at a minimum, to be familiar with the requirements of NFPA 10.

These companies have the right tools and training to ensure optimal compliance while recognizing and correcting any potentially dangerous situations. Once a fire extinguisher passes its annual maintenance, it is verified with a dated inspection tag. The label is valid for one year from the date of inspection. If the unit fails inspection, repair or replace the fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguisher maintenance procedure

Maintenance procedures must include the procedures detailed in the manufacturer’s service manual and a thorough examination of the basic elements of the extinguisher, including the following: 

  • Mechanical parts of all fire extinguishers.
  • Fire extinguishing agent
  • Means of expulsion
  • Physical condition

An internal examination is also a part of your maintenance requirement. Details on how to perform an internal exam are in your fire extinguisher’s service manual. Fire extinguishers must have an external maintenance examination performed annually, at the time of hydrostatic testing, or when specifically indicated by an inspection discrepancy.

Need for internal examination at 1- to 6-year intervals, depending on the type of extinguisher. For example, a stored dry chemical pressure fire extinguisher has to undergo an internal examination every 6 years, as per NFPA 10. To know how often fire extinguishers need to be inspected? A securely attach a tag or label with each fire extinguisher. That is an indication of performing the maintenance. The label or tag must identify the following:

  1. Month and year
  2. The person doing the work
  3. Name of the agency performing the work

Internal maintenance inspection

This internal maintenance also requires the services of a fire protection company. Internal maintenance tests involve unloading the fire extinguishing agent and a complete internal examination and recharging to ensure that all fire extinguisher components are operating properly. Fire extinguishers such as the dry chemical type require a 06-year internal exam.

Hydrostatic tests

Hydrostatic test procedures: how often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected? Like internal maintenance, performing hydrostatic tests at different intervals depending on the type of extinguisher you are. Test every 5 to 12 years. Typically, pressurized water, carbon dioxide, and wet chemical, and dry chemical extinguishers must undergo hydrostatic testing every 6-years. 

Proper testing and maintenance of your workplace portable fire extinguishers should meet NFPA requirements. It ensures the safety of your employees and your business.

A hydrostatic test always begins with an internal and external examination of the extinguisher. Removal of components from the extinguisher, and filling water at a certain pressure for a set time. People doing hydrostatic tests need to know what they are doing because it can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

A trained, certified person who has the correct equipment and facilities to perform the tests. For high-pressure cylinders, the tester identification number and date stamp are on the shoulder, top, head, neck, or toe ring. Destroy the test fail fire extinguisher. On the other hand, reassemble, reload, and put back into service test pass fire extinguisher.

What is the OSHA Standard for fire extinguisher inspection requirements?

fire extinguisher inspections requirements

The responsibility of the employer is that they make sure they carry out inspection, maintenance and testing of all fire extinguishers. Visual inspection monthly Internal examination Record the annual maintenance record Perform the hydro-testing on schedule


Easily accessible without potential injury.  Keep the portable fire extinguishers in fully charged and operable condition and in their designated locations at all times except during use.

fire extinguisher inspections requirements
fire extinguisher inspections requirements

The employer must ensure that portable fire extinguishers are subject to an annual maintenance check. They will keep a record of the annual maintenance date for one year after the last entry. The employer must ensure that stored dry chemical fire extinguishers that require a 12-year hydrostatic test are emptied and maintained every 6 years.

NFPA fire extinguisher inspection requirements

fire extinguisher inspections requirements

NFPA 10 requires that fire extinguishers be inspected when they are initially installed and monthly thereafter. Inspect fire extinguishers more frequently, the locations where they are more prone to rust, impact, or tampering. Maintain monthly records of inspections by placing a label or tag on the extinguisher.

Surprisingly, you can inspect your fire extinguisher on your own at home. You do not need to be a professional inspector or technician to perform the inspection. You must follow the basic steps.

  • First, you need to make sure the extinguisher is visible and easy to retrieve.
  • Second, check the pressure through the pressure gauge which indicates if the device is in the proper functional range. You should check to make sure the gauge shows the proper pressure. Also, check the extinguisher label for the latest maintenance date. If it is more than ten years old, recommend buying a new one.
  • Third, look for any visible signs of damage. Check the appearance of the can, hoses, and nozzles. Take a fire extinguisher In both hands and keep it upside down and downside up to avoid packing powder. Record your checks on the fire extinguisher’s inspection tag to help you keep track of its maintenance history likewise.
  • Lastly, clean your extinguisher of dust or grease and clean it. Certainly, shake the fire extinguishers monthly or Test the pressure every few years.

Constantly and regularly implementing an adequate fire extinguisher inspection plan is essential to prevent severe accidents and protect the lives of workers.

fire extinguisher inspections requirements
fire extinguisher inspections requirements

Although they tend to go unnoticed by the vast majority of people, portable fire extinguishers are the first line of defence against fires in companies and offices. For this reason, and like all security equipment, they must always be operational. This condition can only be guaranteed if the personnel in charge of its maintenance have adequate inspection, review and testing protocols.

Why implement a correct fire extinguisher inspection?

Regular inspection of fire extinguishers is essential to any safety program and includes both maintenance and testing of their operational capability. This task may be carried out by an external specialized third party, or by the company’s security team.

This importance stems from the certainty that more than 90% of fires in commercial properties can be extinguished quickly if the same company personnel confront them immediately using portable fire extinguishers.

Therefore, if there is a single faulty fire extinguisher, both the company’s infrastructure and equipment, as well as the lives of its personnel, are put at risk.

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For this reason, it is essential that the team in charge, as well as the hygiene and safety supervisors, know how to carry out this inspection efficiently and effectively. This objective implies being aware of the most common problems that can be identified during an inspection and, at the same time, knowing how to solve them.

Frequency of fire extinguisher inspections

As a general rule, fire extinguishers should be checked during the first installation and monthly thereafter. Additionally, this frequency can be adjusted according to the needs of each company, including the characteristics of the physical environment, or the nature of the activities carried out. 

For example, an administrative services office, or an advertising agency, might require fewer demands than a food factory, or a heavy manufacturing industry.

This implies that much more frequent inspections must be carried out if the area where the fire extinguishers are stored represents a risk of damage to their components. This may be due to multiple factors such as the presence of acids, oxides, corrosive elements or environmental factors that accelerate the degradation of metals, among other possibilities.

What is fire extinguisher signage?

Safety signs are essential in an emergency, as they warn of possible risks in workplaces and public places, and allow people to be guided in the event of an emergency. Therefore, it is important to have them and install them in suitable places.

Fire signage is a set of signs that show where the fire extinguishers, equipped fire hydrants, emergency exits or alarm buttons are located, among other elements necessary for people in the event of a fire to locate and use the systems. extinguishing and evacuation routes. 

These signs must always be placed in strategic and visible areas, following current regulations regarding location, conditions, shapes and colours. As stipulated by law, every building must be provided with evacuation routes, in addition, to correct fire signs and an emergency plan according to the type and characteristics of the property or building.

In short, the main function of this fire-fighting signal system is to inform and indicate most clearly and concisely as possible where the fire-fighting equipment and emergency exits are located. 

Other health and safety-related topics:

Scaffold safety requirements

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