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Fire Extinguishers Inspection Requirements Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Fire Extinguishers Inspection Requirements

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Fire exting­uishers are a standard feature in many public buildings and private homes. One way to help ensure they will work properly when needed is to follow the federa­lly­-ma­ndated inspection schedule. These inspec­tions are supposed to be recorded on a hang tag attached to each fire exting­uisher. In addition to a list of the inspec­tions and the dates they were performed, the inspection tags typically include a descri­ption of the exting­uisher, including the make and model number. Checking to ensure the tags are present and contain accurate, up-to-date inform­ation is an important element of most building safety inspec­tions.

Codes and Standards

The primary federal requir­ements for fire exting­uisher inspec­tions are specified by the National Fire Protection Agency in NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Exting­uis­hers. Additional standards are contained in OSHA and state codes. Despite variations in the style of fire exting­uishers and the fire-s­upp­ression materials they contain, NFPA 10 requires all portable exting­uishers to undergo four primary categories of inspec­tions: monthly, annual mainte­nance, six-year and periodic hydros­tatic materials inspec­tions. All inspec­tions must be recorded on one or more tags on the fire exting­uisher; it is advisable to keep a separate inspection log as well.

Fire Inspection Tag

Monthly Visual Inspec­tions

Monthly and annual inspec­tions are the best ways to ensure your fire exting­uisher operates effect­ively and is stored and mounted properly. The monthly inspec­tions are visual only and can be performed by the homeowner or a company's mainte­nance or safety personnel. These inspec­tions ensure the exting­uisher is undamaged, the hose is not blocked, the safety seal is unbroken and the operating instru­ctions are legible. They also include a check of the pressure gauge to verify the device is fully charged. The month and year of these inspec­tions, along with the initials of the person performing them, are recorded on the exting­uis­her's hang tag.

Fire exting­uishers Inspection

Annual Mainte­nance

Annual inspec­tions are more thorough and must be done and certified by a profes­sional, since annual mainte­nance must include an examin­ation of the mechanical parts, the fire-s­upp­ression agent and the delivery system. The certif­ication of these inspec­tions must be recorded on the fire exting­uisher tag, including the inspection date and the inspec­tor's initials.

Six-Year Inspec­tions

Six-year mainte­nance inspec­tions are much like the annual inspec­tions. The main difference is that during the six-year inspec­tions, stored­-pr­essure fire exting­uishers are emptied of contents. A licensed profes­sional must examine the mechanics, outlet hose and delivery system, after which the exting­uisher is refilled, re-pre­ssu­rized and marked with a tamper­-re­sistant seal. These six-year inspec­tions must be recorded on the regular hang tag and on a separate metallic label attached to the body of the exting­uisher. Notations must include the month and date of the inspec­tion, as well as the inspec­tor's name and company affili­ation.

Hydros­tatic Materials

Hydros­tatic materials inspec­tions are required at varying intervals. Five-year inspec­tions are required for all pressu­rized water, carbon dioxide and wet-ch­emical exting­uis­hers, while dry-ch­emical exting­uishers must be inspected every 12 years. These inspec­tions use water or another fluid to pressurize the exting­uisher cylinder to verify it still meets factory standards. Hydros­tatic inspec­tions must be carried out by profes­sionals with particular training in handling the fire-e­xti­ngu­ishing agents. They must recharge and seal the exting­uisher as soon as the hydros­tatic testing is done. Five-year and 12-year inspec­tions are recorded on the hang tag and the perman­ently attached metal tag on the cylinder. Inspectors must note the date, their name and company affili­ation, the fire exting­uis­her's pressure level and the exting­uishing agent used.