Fire Extinguishers Frequently Asked Questions

August 20, 2018 Roy Williams

Time and time again, we at Jay L Harman Fire Equipment hear questions about the proper use, proper maintenance and proper testing of fire extinguishers. This article addresses some of the frequently asked questions and provides short easily understandable answers. Again, this is only SOME of the FAQs. If you have questions regarding fire extinguishers, get the full answer by contacting Jay L Harman Fire Equipment today.

How often should my fire extinguisher be inspected?

Your fire extinguisher pressure gauge should be checked monthly to be sure that the extinguisher is holding pressure. The monthly checks should be documented. Also, the fire extinguisher should be inspected and certified annually by a fire protection equipment company. A complete breakdown and internal inspection must be done every 6 years. Both the annual and 6 year inspections shall be done by a fire protection equipment company.

How do you inspect a fire extinguisher?

During monthly fire extinguisher inspections, confirm the extinguisher is visible, unobstructed, and in its designated location; verify the locking pin is intact and the tamper seal is unbroken; examine the extinguisher for obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or clogged nozzle; confirm the pressure gauge or indicator is in the operable range or position, and lift the extinguisher to ensure it is still full; make sure the operating instructions on the nameplate are legible and facing outward; check the last professional service date on the tag. (A licensed fire extinguisher maintenance contractor must have inspected the extinguisher within the past 12 months.) and lastly; initial and date the back of the tag.

Do fire extinguishers have an expiration date or need to be replaced?

Even if there’s no expiration date, it won’t last forever. Manufacturers say most extinguishers should work for 5 to 15 years. One important recommendation is to check the pressure gauge monthly and if the needle is in the green area, it’s functional, if it falls anywhere else, the extinguisher is unreliable and should be serviced or replaced immediately. For an older model fire extinguisher without a gauge, have it checked by a professional fire protection company. You should replace or service an extinguisher right away if it’s been used or if you notice any of the following:
The hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped, or blocked with debris.
The locking pin on the handle is missing or unsealed.
The handle is wobbly or broken.
The inspection sticker or hang tag, with a record of checkups and maintenance, is missing.

How many years is a fire extinguisher good for?

Most extinguishers last between five (5) and fifteen (15) years, according to manufacturers. Check the tag on your extinguisher for dates and manufacturer’s instructions.

What steps should be taken when using a fire extinguisher?

A simple fire extinguisher training technique to use with employees is the PASS method:
P – Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
A – Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire.
S – Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.

How far back should you stand when using a fire extinguisher?

Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire while standing approximately 8 feet away.

Is the fire extinguisher powder toxic?

While fire extinguisher powder is non-toxic, it is not entirely safe. Common ABC “multipurpose” dry chemical extinguishers with the powder in them are a respiratory irritant, but unlikely to cause any severe or permanent lung problems.

What are the main types of fire extinguishers?

Water.
Powder.
Foam.
CO2.
Wet chemical.

The Jay L Harman Fire Equipment team understands your firefighting needs and is ready to help

The team at Jay L Harman Fire Equipment understands that you will have many burning questions on your mind when it comes to choosing the right fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems for your business.

Jay L Harman Fire Equipment is the only distributor of OVAL low-profile fire extinguishers in all of West Texas and New Mexico.

Jay L Harman is the best and one of the biggest firefighting equipment suppliers and service providers in the region, specializing in fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, fire fighting protective gear, fire hoses and more. Serving El Paso TX, Las Cruces NM and the surrounding areas, we pride ourselves on buying local and hiring local whenever possible.

Contact Jay L. Harman Fire Equipment in El Paso TX at 915-533-7021 or Las Cruces NM at 575-523-8880. Since 1925, we have protected businesses throughout the area from the harms and hazards of fires. Every Jay L Harman technician is licensed and regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance State Fire Marshal’s Office. Each of these technicians continually receives the most up-to-date factory training and certifications by our manufacturers. Contact Jay L Harman Fire Equipment today. Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff tell you more about our fire suppression systems and help you find the ideal fire suppression system for your needs. Learn more about our full offering of fire extinguisher trainingfirefighting servicesfirefighting productsrequest a quote, ask a question or request additional information.