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Fire Extinguisher Inspection And Refill

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Fire Extinguisher Inspection and Refill - Protect your storage shed workshop or shed with living space using a fire extinguisher.

Fire codes require a fire extinguisher inspection every year to make sure the fire extinguisher is in proper working order. Most cities have a fire extinguisher supply shop that can perform all the necessary fire extinguisher inspections and tests. They also have the equipment to refill a fire extinguisher. Most storage sheds used as a workshop or living area should have a fire extinguisher. Read this article to learn about fire extinguisher inspections to help keep your fire extinguisher ready to put out a fire.

  1. Fire Extinguisher Disposal
Don't throw it away, the cylinder can cause an accident even if it is believed to not be charged. Take to recharging company, most will dispose of the cylinders for free.

step 1 Basic Fire Extinguisher Inspection Rules

Fire extinguishers need periodic inspections depending on their age. This is an outline of the basic inspections and what is done during each inspection. Fire extinguisher inspections are performed by a licensed inspection company. Many companied do site visits and will service your fire extinguisher at your home or business or even at your vehicle.

New Inspection: When a fire extinguisher is purchased it must be inspected by a certified inspector. Fire extinguishers purchased from regular stores usually do not have an inspection tag. Fire extinguishers purchased from a fire equipment sales and service shop will come with a inspection tag. If you purchased a fire extinguisher from a general store then you can take the fire extinguisher to a fire equipment sales shop and have it inspected.

Yearly Inspection: Fire extinguishers must have a visual inspection yearly. This is a simple and inexpensive inspection that includes:
  • Visually looking at the extinguisher for damage such as rust and dents. Dents on the cup attached to the bottom of the extinguisher to allow the fire extinguisher to stand up on its own are usually ok
  • Rusted fire extinguishers are to be condemned.
  • Dents on fire extinguishers are not allowed, only dents on the base cup that is not part of the cylinder are allowed.
  • Read the gauge to verify it is charged
  • Making sure the safety pin is held in place by a breakaway strap.
  • Loosen The Chemical: The chemical used in ABC fire extinguishers will separate from the nitrogen used to pressurize it. The chemical then settles to the bottom of the fire extinguisher and becomes cake like. After several years it can become so hard it will no longer flow up the tube and out the fire extinguisher. Loosening the chemical from the bottom of the fire extinguisher is important to keep the fire extinguisher working properly. Turn the fire extinguisher upside down and tap on the bottom with a rubber mallet to loosen the chemical.
  • Re-tagging the fire extinguisher with the dates punched out

6 Year Inspection: Every 6 years it is mandatory to recharge the fire extinguisher. During the 6 year inspection the:
  • Chemical is discharged
  • The top removed
  • Any remaining chemical is dumped out
  • The valve and down tube are inspected for warping and damage
  • The O ring is changed
  • The fire extinguisher is refilled and recharged
  • The Items for the yearly inspection are done

12 year Inspection: Every 12 years there are a few more items to be inspected and actions performed to the fire extinguisher, they include:
  • All the items done during the yearly and 6 year inspection
  • Changing the valve
  • Pressurize the tank with water to see if it has leaks. This is called a hydro test. Most extinguishers will be condemned before the 12 year inspection.
Performing all inspection items done during the 1 year and 6 year inspections.
Condemn a Fire Extinguisher: There are several reasons why a fire extinguisher would be condemned:
  • Fire extinguishers made before 1984 are to be condemned.
  • If they are dented or rusted by determination of the inspector. Dents on the base that are not actually part of the cylinder are ok.

step 2 Reading Fire Extinguisher Inspection Labels and Tags
  • There are several ways a fire extinguisher is marked to show the inspections and service it has had:
  • Hang Tag: The hang tag is used yearly to indicate when the fire extinguisher was inspected. The tag will have the date of the inspection punched out and will usually say that the inspection expires 12 months from the date punched out.

Label: The sticker label is used every 6 years to The label and tag on a fire extinguisher tells the date of the last fire extinguisher inspection. These dates will tell you when to recharge the fire extinguisher. If a fire extinguisher is purchased any place other than a fire extinguisher supply shop then it will not have a inspection label or card, it will only have the date of manufacture. A fire extinguisher should be inspected one year after the dates marked.

Plastic Ring: When the fire extinguisher has its valve removed it will have a plastic ring installed between the valve and the tank. This plastic ring indicates that the valve has been removed, it also will have dates punched to indicate the date that the valve was removed. The color of the ring tells the inspector the size of the ring and has no relation to the inspection of the fire extinguisher.

step 3 Fire Extinguisher Disposal

Don't throw it away, the cylinder can cause an accident even if it is believed to not be charged. Take the fire extinguisher to a fire equipment sales and service shop. Most will dispose of the cylinders for free. If you have used your fire extinguisher or it has lost its charge don't throw it away. You can refill a fire extinguisher for a fraction of the cost of replacement. Learn when to refill a fire extinguisher and when a fire extinguisher needs an inspection to keep it ready to put out a fire.

step 4 How To Refill A Fire Extinguisher

There are fire extinguisher shops that inspect, service and recharge fire extinguishers. Most cities have a shop that provides a fire extinguisher refill service. If you live in a small town there will be a traveling service that goes to businesses to perform the required yearly maintenance on fire extinguishers to keep the extinguishers current with the fire code.

Find your local fire extinguisher supply and recharging company. Look in the phone book or search on the internet for "Fire Extinguisher". Call and check the pricing. There will be different pricing depending on how old the fire extinguisher is and if it has been discharged or needs special inspections because of its age.
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