Glen Ellen Fire Protection District

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

How Frequently Should You Get Your Fire Extinguisher Inspected?

Fire safety equipment needs to be properly inspected and in working condition to function correctly. This includes a regular monthly inspection.

While a professional fire safety company will perform your annual maintenance inspections, monthly visual inspections are something you can do yourself. Checking for things like the pull pin, tamper seal and gauge needle.

1. Monthly

Fire extinguishers need to be inspected regularly by the staff at businesses and organizations. This is usually done by a professional fire protection company, but it is also required that the fire safety equipment be inspected on a monthly basis by individuals in order to ensure that it is still functional.

A monthly visual inspection can include checking the date of last professional inspection, the hose and nozzle for signs of corrosion or damage, ensuring that the pin is secured and that it is not obstructed, as well as examining the pressure gauge to make sure it is in the green zone. A needle in the left red zone signals that the fire extinguisher is undercharged and needs to be recharged, while a needle in the right red zone indicates a potential danger of overcharge.

Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers are the exception to this, as they do not have a pressure gauge and require a weight check instead, but this is beyond the scope of a monthly quick inspection.

2. Annual

OSHA requires that a basic professional maintenance inspection be performed once a year. This type of inspection focuses on ensuring that the fire extinguishers are in proper working order. It includes checking the location of each extinguisher and making sure that it is accessible in an emergency. The inspector also checks for signs of tampering and that the label is still clearly legible.

The inspector also looks for dents, cracks, damage and leaks on the extinguisher cylinder itself and the mounting hardware. They will also verify that the pressure gauge indicator is in the green operating range. They will check the safety pin and seals for proper functioning and they will provide a dated tag.

Other maintenance and inspection requirements may be needed based on the type of extinguisher. Make sure to check the manufacturer owner’s manual for details.

3. Hydrostatic Testing

Fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly to make sure they are properly stored, easily accessible, charged and undamaged. This inspection includes a check of the gauge, pressure indicator, pull pin and tamper seal. It also involves looking for signs of corrosion or dents on the outside container and the hose. It is recommended that this visual inspection be performed by a professional fire protection company to ensure it is completed correctly. Internal maintenance examinations and recharging must be done every six or 12 years (depending on your extinguisher type) and must be conducted by a licensed fire protection contractor who will test the extinguisher cylinder to ensure it can safely contain the contents of the fire extinguisher.

During this process, the cylinder is filled with water, slightly elevated and cap or plugged on one end to release any trapped air. The cylinder is then subjected to a pressure test, and if passed, the tamper seal is replaced and it is ready for use.


4. Visual Inspection

While it is important to have your fire extinguishers inspected by a professional on a monthly basis and every six years, it is also a good idea for responsible employees to perform visual inspections. They can check that the fire extinguisher is mounted in a safe and easily accessible location, and that it hasn’t been displaced or obstructed by equipment or materials. They can also ensure that the head cap pin, pressure gauge and seal are intact.

Visual inspection is a nondestructive testing technique that uses the human eye to examine products and materials. It is used by a number of industries to ensure that their products meet certain standards and regulations. It is especially helpful for identifying aesthetic flaws, such as scratches, dents or discoloration. It can be performed by random sampling, full manual sampling or automated visual inspection. The manufacturing industry, for example, relies on visual inspection to ensure that their products meet specifications before they are shipped out to customers.