Fire Extinguisher Inspection: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Fire Extinguisher Inspection: Your Step-by-Step Guide

9/29/2020 - SPI

Nothing can be worse than needing a fire extinguisher in the case of a fire and finding out that it doesn’t work. Fire extinguishers might not always be foremost in one’s thoughts, but their inspection and maintenance are crucial for protecting your home and businesses.

A fire extinguisher visual inspection needs to be conducted monthly to ensure its good working condition. This inspection and monitoring are carried out by a professional fire protection company or an organization’s safety officer as a part of their fire safety plan. It is crucial to keep up-to-date records following each inspection to have the most recent information on an extinguisher.

A complete maintenance check must be carried out once a year and performed by a professional fire protection company. Fire suppression professionals have the right training and tools to provide optimal compliance and to identify dangerous conditions. After the inspection, the fire suppression technician provides a dated tag that will be valid for another year.

Did You Know?

According to Fire and Emergency, over 90% of fires in commercial properties are extinguished early on using a fire extinguisher.

Be Careful!

  • Never use a damaged or punctured fire extinguisher. A corroded or damaged cylinder could potentially explode since its content is under pressure.

  • Make sure you have the right type of fire extinguisher for your environment. The fire extinguisher needs to be chosen based on the type of fuel that is feeding the fire.

  • Employees should be trained to operate a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency.

ANSUL’s Recommended Inspections Steps

  1. Use appropriate location: The extinguisher has to be in its designated place, clearly visible and accessible for immediate use. Any obstructions should be moved, and the service date needs to be verified to determine the need for inspection or maintenance.

  2. Check overall condition: Look for noticeable signs of damage. Make sure the label is present and readable.

  3. Check nameplate condition and readability: Confirm the pointer on the extinguisher pressure gauge is in the operating range. Check the nameplates for damage and readability.

  4. Check mounting bracket: Remove the extinguisher from its wall hanger or bracket and make sure the bracket is secure enough to hold the extinguisher safely.

  5. Hefting test: Lift up and down slightly the extinguisher to determine if it is charged with an agent. Internal rattling indicates a loose or broken pic-up tube, and the extinguisher must be removed from service, discharged, repaired, and recharged before returning to use.

  6. Check the condition of the shell: Examine the extinguisher shell and all external parts for evidence of physical damage, corrosion, or other impairments. Look for scratches and dents. You should also verify the manufacture date stamp on the bottom of the unit.

  7. Make sure the gauge needle is in the green area: Confirm the indicator is in the green operating range.

  8. Ring pin and seal intact: Confirm the visual seal is in place.

  9. Check nozzle for obstructions: Check the nozzle and look for foreign objects or obstructions.

  10. Record date on tag: Complete the inspection tag.

  11. Record date in a logbook: These dates must be recorded and be kept on file indefinitely.

Inspections should be more frequent if any of the following conditions arise:

  • Frequent fire history

  • Presence of severe hazards

  • Exposure to abnormal temperatures or corrosive atmospheres

  • Susceptibility to tampering or vandalism

  • Locations that make fire extinguishers susceptible to mechanical injury

  • Possibility of visible or physical obstructions