What does the code require for fire extinguisher inspections?

fire extinguisher services in Memphis
September 15, 2023

Fire extinguisher inspection requirements are outlined in various codes and standards. The requirements may vary depending on your location and the regulations enforced there. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes NFPA 10, the standard for portable fire extinguishers in the United States. Here are some essential code requirements for fire extinguisher inspections based on NFPA 10:

  1. Frequency of Inspections: The NFPA 10 Portable Extinguisher code requires monthly visual inspections of all fire extinguishers to ensure they are in their designated locations, the pressure gauge or indicator is in the operable range, the tamper seal is intact, and there are no visible signs of damage or corrosion. An annual maintenance inspection is required. It is a more detailed examination of the fire extinguisher’s condition and must be done by a licensed firm.
  1. Annual Maintenance Inspection: Our inspection thoroughly examines your fire extinguisher’s components. This includes the hose, nozzle, pin, handle, label, and operating instructions. Our certified technicians will verify the extinguisher’s specified weight is within the correct range. We’ll check for signs of leakage by examining the fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge to ensure it is within the manufacturer’s guidelines. We’ll address any deficiencies found during the inspection through maintenance or repairs.
  1. Hydrostatic Testing: NFPA 10 specifies your fire extinguishers must undergo hydrostatic testing at specific intervals. The interval depends on the type of extinguisher you own, as there are different requirements based on the type. Hydrostatic testing ensures that the pressure vessel of the extinguisher is safe and free from defects. It’s often more cost-effective to replace at the 12-year mark from the original manufacturing date rather than the hydrostatic test.

For example, a class ABC extinguisher with a manufacturing date 2010 requires a 6-year maintenance in 2016 and a hydrostatic test in 2022.

  1. Recharging: You should have your fire extinguishers recharged after use or if found to have low pressure. Mid-South Safety performs this service in-house with best-in-class equipment and rigorous NFPA 10 standards to ensure your extinguishers work properly when needed.
  1. Documentation: You should maintain records of all inspections, maintenance, hydrostatic tests, and recharges. Additionally, these records help demonstrate compliance with the inspection requirements. They are also helpful for regulatory authorities and insurance purposes, especially for unannounced fire inspector visits. The proper documentation should have a line item for each extinguisher that shows the location in your facility, type of extinguisher, size, manufacturing date, and the subsequent maintenance date needed.
  1. Training: NFPA 10 recommends that service technicians responsible for inspecting and maintaining fire extinguishers receive proper training and certification. Most states require a technician to pass a written exam based on NFPA 10 guidelines to inspect fire extinguishers.

Please note that these requirements are based on NFPA 10, widely recognized in the United States. However, local fire codes and regulations may have variations or additional requirements. It’s essential to consult with your local fire department or authority to ensure full compliance with the specific regulations in your area. Additionally, the code requirements may change over time, so staying updated with the latest standards and guidelines is important.

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