A Property Manager’s Guide to Fire Extinguisher Services

fire extinguisher service
April 2, 2024

This blog post aims to help property managers understand fire extinguisher service, covering how often inspections are needed, when to recharge, when replacements are necessary, and how to conduct inspections. Ensuring your building’s safety and preparedness against fire hazards in commercial property management is non-negotiable. One pivotal component of this safety net is the fire extinguisher. However, merely having fire extinguishers on site is not enough. A thorough understanding of fire extinguisher service is crucial for maintaining a safe and compliant environment.

The Highlights of Fire Extinguisher Service

Annual Inspection of Fire Extinguishers Steps

1. Visual Inspection: The first step in the annual inspection is a thorough visual examination. Check for any signs of physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or clogging in the nozzle. The extinguisher should be easily accessible, not blocked by any obstacles, and its instructions clearly visible and legible.

2. Check the Seals and Tamper Indicators: Ensure that the safety seals and tamper indicators are not broken or missing. These features indicate whether an extinguisher has been used or tampered with since the last inspection.

3. Verify the Pressure: Most fire extinguishers have a pressure gauge (C02 extinguishers are an exception). During the inspection, check that the needle is in the green zone, indicating that the extinguisher is fully charged and ready for use. A weight check is necessary for extinguishers without a gauge to ensure they meet the expected weight for their size and type.

4. Inspect the Hose and Nozzle: Carefully examine the hose and nozzle for wear, tear, or blockage. Ensure that the hose is securely attached and that the nozzle is free from obstructions that could impede the extinguishing agent’s flow.

5. Review Service Tags: Each extinguisher should have a tag indicating the date of the last inspection and the details of the servicing technician. This tag is updated during annual inspections, providing a clear maintenance history record.

6. Documentation: Finally, document the inspection results, noting any issues found and the corrective actions taken. This documentation is vital for compliance and tracking each extinguisher’s maintenance history. If an extinguisher passes the inspection, place a certification tag on it.

How to Check for the Fire Extinguisher Manufacturing Date

A fundamental aspect of fire extinguisher maintenance is knowing how to locate and interpret the manufacturing date, as it dictates the service intervals necessary to keep the extinguisher operational and compliant. The manufacturing date can typically be found on the extinguisher’s label or stamped onto the body. It’s usually formatted as a year (YY); in some cases, it may be encoded in a serial number. Where the date is located on the cylinder can vary between manufacturers and models of fire extinguishers.

Understanding the age of your fire extinguishers is crucial, as it helps in planning for their service intervals, which can differ based on the type of extinguisher and the regulations governing fire safety in your jurisdiction. Regularly checking and documenting the manufacturing date of each extinguisher ensures that all units within your property are within their effective service period, safeguarding against the risks associated with expired or malfunctioning fire safety equipment.

This guidance emphasizes the importance of the manufacturing date in managing the lifecycle of fire extinguishers and underscores the role of property managers in maintaining a safe environment through diligent oversight of fire safety equipment.

Determining When Your Extinguisher is Due for Service

Determining when a fire extinguisher requires servicing is a critical component of effective property management and fire safety. The need for service can be identified through a combination of regular inspections, understanding the manufacturer’s guidelines, and adhering to local fire safety regulations. Firstly, conduct visual inspections monthly, checking for signs of damage, corrosion, leakage, or a gauge that indicates the extinguisher is not fully charged. These inspections can quickly reveal if an extinguisher appears compromised or requires immediate attention. However, visual checks are just the beginning.

Beyond monthly visual inspections, fire extinguishers must undergo maintenance by a certified professional at intervals specified by the manufacturer and local regulations, typically once a year. During these maintenance checks, a technician will perform a thorough examination, which includes checking the extinguisher’s mechanical parts, extinguishing agent, and expellant for any signs of deterioration. This annual maintenance is also an opportunity to review the extinguisher’s manufacturing date. Most extinguishers need a more in-depth internal examination every 5 to 6 years, depending on the type of extinguisher. This examination might involve disassembling the extinguisher, checking for internal damage or corrosion, and replacing the extinguishing agent.

Furthermore, the lifespan of a fire extinguisher, which often ranges from 5 to 15 years, depending on its type and maintenance, plays a crucial role in determining its service schedule. Dry chemical extinguishers, for example, require complete internal maintenance and recharge every 6 years and hydrostatic testing every 12 years to ensure the cylinder can hold pressure. CO2 and water-based extinguishers have different intervals for such tests. Therefore, property managers should keep detailed records of each fire extinguisher’s manufacturing date, installation date, and service history to accurately track when it’s due for its next service or if it should be replaced. A reputable service company can provide these records for you.

Knowing when a fire extinguisher is due for service involves a multifaceted approach that includes regular visual inspections, adherence to scheduled maintenance and testing according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and local fire safety standards, and understanding the specific maintenance requirements for different extinguishers. For property managers, staying vigilant and proactive in scheduling these services is critical to ensuring the safety of their properties and compliance with fire safety regulations.

Service Intervals Based on the Type of Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher TypeAnnual InspectionInternal MaintenanceHydrostatic Testing
ABC (Dry Chemical)Every yearEvery 6 yearsEvery 12 years
CO2Every yearNot requiredEvery 5 years
HalotronEvery yearEvery 6 yearsEvery 12 years
Water MistEvery yearEvery 5 yearsEvery 5 years
K Class (Wet Chemical)Every yearEvery 5 yearsEvery 5 years
Class D (Metal Fire)Every yearCheck the manufacturer’s guidelinesCheck manufacturer’s guidelines
Purple KEvery yearEvery 5 yearsEvery 5 years


  • Annual Inspection: A certified professional will perform a check to ensure the extinguisher is in proper condition, accessible, and fully charged.
  • Internal Maintenance: A thorough examination by disassembling the extinguisher, checking for damage and corrosion, and ensuring the extinguishing agent is effective. It may involve replacing parts or refilling the extinguishing agent.
  • Hydrostatic Testing: Conducted to verify the integrity and safety of the extinguisher’s cylinder, ensuring it can withstand high pressures.

Key Considerations:

  • CO2 Extinguishers: These cylinders must be tested more frequently to ensure they can safely hold the gas under pressure.
  • Class D (Metal Fire) Extinguishers: Given the specialized nature of these extinguishers, their maintenance and testing intervals can vary significantly. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines closely for these units.
  • Recording and Compliance: Property managers should meticulously record all maintenance, inspections, and testing activities for each fire extinguisher. This documentation is crucial for compliance with regulations and making informed decisions about when to service or replace extinguishers.

The Risks of Neglecting Fire Extinguisher Service

  • Neglecting the service and maintenance of fire extinguishers in a commercial setting doesn’t just breach regulatory compliance; it significantly escalates the risk of catastrophic outcomes in the event of a fire. Fire extinguishers serve as the first line of defense, offering a chance to suppress flames before they escalate into a full-blown inferno. However, an unserviced or malfunctioning extinguisher can fail to operate when needed most, turning a manageable emergency into a disaster. This negligence can lead to severe property damage, irreparable harm to the business’s reputation, and, most tragically, loss of life.
  • Moreover, the liability implications for property managers are profound. Neglecting fire safety equipment can result in fines from regulatory bodies, increased insurance premiums, or denial of insurance claims post-incident. In worse cases, it might lead to legal action from affected parties, citing negligence in maintaining safety standards. Thus, the importance of regular and thorough fire extinguisher service transcends mere compliance—it’s a fundamental aspect of responsible property management that safeguards lives, assets, and the future of the business itself.

Mid-South Safety Services inspects thousands of fire extinguishers in Memphis, Bartlett, Cordova, Southaven, Olive Branch, Horn Lake, Byhalia, Jackson, and the rest of the Mid-South. We keep our customers safe and compliant with the NFPA 10 portable extinguisher code.

Ensure your property’s safety and compliance with professional fire extinguisher services. Don’t wait for an emergency to find out your fire extinguishers aren’t ready. Contact Mid-South Safety Services at www.midsouthsafetyservices.com or 662-892-8723 for expert inspection, maintenance, and peace of mind. Your property’s safety is our top priority.