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How to Inspect a Fire Extinguisher

Fire Damage
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

Like any other piece of safety equipment, a home fire extinguisher should be inspected regularly to ensure it’s in proper working condition. Without a regular inspection, you may not be confident that it will work correctly – or at all – if a fire breaks out in your home.

Use this fire extinguisher inspection checklist from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore® to learn all the steps necessary for a quality examination of your fire extinguisher.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD FIRE EXTINGUISHERS BE INSPECTED?

Fire extinguishers should be inspected by the professionals once a year. You can also perform a monthly inspection on your own to ensure that your equipment will work effectively in an emergency. Follow our checklist to ensure each part of your extinguisher is correctly inspected each month.

FIRE EXTINGUISHER INSPECTION CHECKLIST

Most types of fire extinguishers require the same kind of inspection. Follow these steps to complete your own fire extinguisher inspection:

CHECK THE LABEL OR TAG

Every fire extinguisher, whether disposable or rechargeable, has a manufacturer’s label or tag. This is where you’ll find important information from the manufacturer, including the expiration date. After you purchase your fire extinguisher, read the tag thoroughly and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance suggestions.

INSPECT THE TAMPER SEAL

If the tamper seal is broken or cracked, a disposable fire extinguisher should be replaced immediately. If it’s rechargeable, it should be serviced by the professionals. Check the locking or pull pin as well to ensure it’s resting in the correct position. If the pin is missing, the fire extinguisher needs to be inspected or serviced by a professional.

LOOK FOR PHYSICAL DAMAGE

Physically examine your fire extinguisher for any signs of obvious damage. This may include corrosion, cracks, dents and leakage. If you notice any of these issues, the fire extinguisher may not work properly when you need it most. Stay safe by replacing it with a new model. If there aren’t any signs of physical damage, check the nozzle to ensure it’s not clogged by grime, dust or bugs. If it is, you can simply wipe these items away to get the nozzle back in good condition.

EXAMINE THE PRESSURE GAUGE

Check that the pressure gauge needle indicates the fire extinguisher pressure is in the optimum operating range. Often, the correct pressure range will be designated by green markers.

ENSURE THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER IS STILL FULL

During your monthly check, lift your fire extinguisher to determine if it’s still full. If it feels light, there may have been a leak, meaning that it won’t have the right amount of pressure to work correctly.

SHAKE IT

If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, it should be shaken once a month. This helps prevent the chemical dousing agent from solidifying at the bottom of the unit and preventing it from working properly during an emergency.

WRITE THE INSPECTION DATE ON THE TAG

Keep track of your inspection dates by noting it on the fire extinguisher tag.

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR FIRE EXTINGUISHER IN AN EASILY ACCESSIBLE LOCATION

Fire extinguishers should always be easy to access if a fire breaks out. Let everyone in the household know exactly where it’s installed so the adults can grab it during an emergency. Like exits and escape routes, fire extinguishers should never be blocked by items like furniture or boxes.

WHAT TO DO IF A FIRE BREAKS OUT

In the event that a fire does break out in your home, your extinguisher should only be used to put out or control small fires. If you are able to put out the flames on your own, you may be able to clean up fire extinguisher residue on your own, too.

If the flames are too large or you cannot reach your fire extinguisher in time, get out of the house and call 9-1-1. Once the fire is professionally put out, call on the experts to get your house back to normal. Our fire and smoke damage removal services help mitigate your loss while restoring your home back to its original beauty. With the extensive knowledge, innovative equipment and years of experience, we’re committed to being at your side every step of the way.