DOT Requirements For Fire Extinguishers On Commercial Trucks And Buses

Travis Jolliff

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) maintains specific DOT fire extinguisher requirements for vehicles that travel U.S. roadways. When a vehicle collision occurs, and a fire starts or flammable materials in transit combust, a commercial truck fire extinguisher can mean the difference between quickly containing the fire and the fire growing out of control, potentially injuring or even killing victims.

Which Vehicles Need to Carry Fire Extinguishers?

Following DOT fire extinguisher requirements, all trucks, truck tractors and buses except for vehicles used in driveaway-towaway operations must be equipped with fire extinguishers. The specific safety rating a fire extinguisher must meet depends on the type of vehicle carrying it. Commercial vehicles that transport hazardous materials are required to be placarded when doing so, and they must be equipped with fire extinguishers rated 10 B:C or greater. Vehicles that do not transport hazardous vehicles must carry either one fire extinguisher rated 5 B:C or greater or two fire extinguishers rated 4 B:C or greater.

Mounting and Securing Fire Extinguishers

DOT fire extinguisher requirements also specify how and where fire extinguishers must be mounted and secured within a vehicle. A commercial truck fire extinguisher must be filled and ready for use at all times. It must be securely mounted within the vehicle, so it does not roll, slide or become jostled with the vehicle’s movement.

Every fire extinguisher carried in a commercial vehicle must have its Underwriters’ Laboratories safety rating clearly marked on its exterior. Additionally, fire extinguishers must not use extinguishing agents that can possibly freeze, with or without chemical anti-freeze protection, and they must comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s toxicity requirements for fire extinguishers.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

A commercial truck fire extinguisher should be inspected monthly and serviced annually. Additionally, it should be refilled and recharged after every use. OSHA requirements for fire extinguishers in vehicles and all other workplaces state that dry chemical fire extinguishers must be emptied and receive maintenance every six years. When fire extinguishers are removed from the workplace for recharging and refilling, employers must provide alternative means of extinguishing fires.

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Jay L Harman’s DOT Hydrostatic Testing facility and equipment meet all NFPA requirements for the hydrostatic testing of self contained breathing apparatus compressed gas cylinders in addition to testing ABC portable fire extinguisher cylinders.

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