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Fire Extinguisher Inspections: How Often Should Fire Extinguishers Be Checked?

Fire Extinguisher Inspections: How Often Should Fire Extinguishers Be Checked?

In 1881 New York Board of Fire Underwriters created the first set of fire extinguisher installation standards. Since then, the regulations have evolved and employers have had to bear the responsibility for the fire code for their buildings.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and local communities have created specific standards for business and homes. Since fire extinguishers aren’t a daily focus, there are a few key ways to keep on top of your fire extinguisher requirements.


2 Key Ways to Check a Fire Extinguisher

There are a few different guidelines and criteria for the duration between inspections. There are two basic inspections necessary to test fire extinguishers and keep up with fire code compliance.


1) Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspections Performed by the Employer

Employers must do a visual check of their fire extinguishers at least once a month. Here are key things to look out for during your visual inspection:

  • There is a valid maintenance tag
  • The fire extinguisher is still in its original location
  • The fire extinguisher is easily accessible and not blocked off by changes in the office(new furniture, equipment)
  • No major damage to the equipment has occurred
  • No corrosion, leaks or dents
  • Make sure the pull-pin is not dislodged or missing
  • Most importantly - The fire extinguisher is fully charged(arrow pointing to the green area) and ready to use.
  • If equipment is damaged/unusable, an alternative must be provided.

Along with the inspection, date and initial the back of the tag to log the monthly visual inspection. This is also recommended if you have a fire extinguisher in your house, especially since they aren’t checked professionally.


2) Yearly Fire Extinguisher Inspection Performed by a Professional Service

According to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.157(e)(3), employers must do a complete inspection on their workplace's fire extinguishers once a year. This inspection includes a comprehensive evaluation and repair for all your fire extinguishers.

A licensed professional from your local fire protection company should be called in to perform this maintenance check. Any parts of the extinguisher that failed examination will be repaired or replaced by fire safety experts. It allows for a headache free compliance process and quick turn around if a fire extinguisher needs to be replaced.


Fire Extinguisher Yearly Tags

When an inspection is completed, a dated inspection tag is attached to a fire extinguisher. That tag is valid for one year from the date of inspection.

According to OSHA 1910.157(e)(3): ‘The employer shall record the annual maintenance date and retain this record for one year after the last entry or the life of the shell, whichever is less.

If you have dry chemical extinguishers of fire sprinkler systems, there are different time frames for those inspections(usually every 5 or 12 years). For more in-depth guidelines, check out OSHA’s regulations page.

Call (888) 627-9394 if you have any questions or want more information regarding your local fire code requirements and our experts can help you out.

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