How to Perform a Monthly Inspection of your Fire Extinguishers

fire extinguisher

Have you ever noticed that paper tag on your fire extinguishers? Flip it over! That’s for recording a monthly inspection.

All fire extinguishers are required by law to be properly inspected, tested and maintained. Fire extinguishers must be given a monthly visual inspection, an annual inspection and maintenance, and hydrostatic testing completed every 12 years.

If the proper fire extinguisher is used correctly, more than 90% of fires are extinguishable so it’s very important to make sure your extinguishers are in good working order.  The professional who conducts your annual inspections and maintenance can perform the monthly inspection (which will include checking seals and updating your online reports), or you can designate an employee to perform a more basic monthly inspection to check for repairs that would require a professional. Either way, EVERY EXTINGUISHER on the premises must be inspected EVERY MONTH according to NFPA 101(00), NFPA-10 and State of Ohio State Fire Code*.

How to perform a basic visual inspection of a Fire Extinguisher:extinguisher tag2

  1. Check that the extinguisher is in the designated place.
    (remember how far away from hazards different extinguishers should be?)
  2. Check the canister for dents or scratches.
    Anything that intrudes into the canister more than 1/16 of an inch makes it a deficient extinguisher.
  3. Check the hose for blockages.
  4. Make sure the gauge is reading in the green range.
  5. Ensure the pull pin is inserted properly.
  6. Make sure the hose is properly secured.
  7. Make sure there are no obstructions to access or visibility, and that operating instructions are facing forward.
  8. Initial and date the tag, to reflect inspection information.

If problems are found with any of the above items (dents, hose blockages, gauges not in the green range, pull pin missing, or hose cannot be properly secured to canister), call A1 as your extinguisher will need to be replaced or repaired.

For Rechargeable Extinguishers, if the following problems are found, call A1 for help as corrections or replacement of the extinguisher must be made:

  1. Safety seals are broken or missing.
  2. There is evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.
  3. Pressure gauge readings are not in the proper range or position (green).
  4. Operating instructions are not legible.
  5. Fullness cannot be confirmed by weighing or lifting.

For Nonrechargeable Extinguishers, if the following problems are found, call A1 for help as the extinguisher must be removed from use:

  1. There is evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.
  2. Pressure gauge readings are not in the proper range or position.
  3. Operating instructions are not legible.
  4. Fullness cannot be confirmed by weighing or lifting.

Note: Nonrechargeable extinguishers can be identified by markings such as “Discharge and Dispose of After Any Use,” “Discharge and Return to Manufacturer After Any Use,” or simply, “Nonrechargeable.”

 

So that’s a monthly inspection! Repeat the process for EVERY EXTINGUISHER to make sure you are compliant with State of Ohio Fire Code*.

 

Will Buchholz

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198. Check out our Workplace Fire Extinguisher Training!

 

* NFPA 101(00), Sec. 9.7.4.1 and Ohio Administrative Code 1301:7-7-09 require that portable fire extinguishers be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. In other words, all fire extinguishers are required by law to be properly inspected, tested and maintained.

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Posted on: June 1, 2016

9 thoughts on “How to Perform a Monthly Inspection of your Fire Extinguishers

  1. I would have never known that fire extinguishers should be inspected monthly. That is so good to know since you want to make sure you are always doing what you can to stay safe. If you inspect it monthly, you will know whether or not it will work for you in case of an emergency!

  2. Wow, I had no idea a fire extinguisher needed regular inspection! The article states that an extinguisher needs a monthly visual inspection and an annual inspection. This is good to know since my wife and I have been looking at getting a portable extinguisher to have in our kitchen in case of emergency.

  3. I didn’t know that I should be inspecting my fire extinguisher. It makes sense though, since they can be a life saver in an emergency. I’ll make sure to follow your eight-step process this month, to make sure ours is working.

  4. I like your tip to make sure the operating instructions a legible. I think it’s also worthwhile to print out a little poster of instructions. You could use the PASS acronym that explains how to use the extinguisher (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep).

  5. I did not know there was a pressure gauge on home fire extinguishers. I will be sure to check that mine is in the green range. I have always wondered how to check if the extinguisher is still good.

  6. Thank you for your post. My workplace has fire extinguishers so it is good to know that they need to be visually inspected monthly, as you suggested. I know for me, I would want to ensure I am using a professional for inspections.

  7. Will, this was quite educational. My husband is thinking about investing in a fire extinguisher for our kitchen, so this was helpful. It’s nice to know how to handle the two different types of extinguisher.

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