How Often Should You Have Your Portable Fire Extinguishers Inspected And What Is Involved In These Inspections – Part 1

Travis Jolliff

Portable fire extinguisher inspection is extremely important for the protection of every business. The reality is that most business owners find it easy to simply forget about their portable fire extinguishers. After all, they just sit in your workplace day after day “just in case” you ever need them which of course you hope you never will. Even though your portable fire extinguishers may not always be a top priority in your mind, there is nothing worse than needing a fire extinguisher in an emergency only to discover that it isn’t charged and doesn’t work. For this very reason, OSHA and Fire Codes require specific procedures when it comes to fire extinguishers in the workplace. Depending on the type of inspection being performed, there are different recommendations and requirements for the time between inspections. This 2 part series of articles will address the three primary ways fire extinguishers need to be inspected / tested, and the schedule for each. Part 1 addresses monthly and annual requirements. Part 2 will address periodic requirements including hydrostatic testing.

Monthly Visual Fire Extinguisher Inspections

According to OSHA [29 CFR 1910.157(e)(2), employers must perform a visual inspection on portable fire extinguishers at least once per month. Visually inspecting your fire extinguishers helps ensure several important points:

  • The extinguisher is still present in its designated location
  • No damage has occurred to the equipment
  • No obstructions are blocking the equipment from view or from easy access
  • The extinguisher is fully charged and operational

What should you look for during a visual inspection?

  • Look for obvious signs of physical damage, such as corrosion, leakage, or dents.
  • Check the pressure gauge to make sure the indicator is in the operating range.
  • Make sure the pull-pin is not missing and the pull pin seal is intact.
  • Verify the date of the last professional inspection.
  • Date and initial the back of the tag to log the monthly visual inspection.

Annual Maintenance Inspections

Employers need to perform a full maintenance check on their workplace’s portable fire extinguishers once per year. According to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.157(e)(3). “Maintenance” means a thorough examination and repair, as needed, of all your facility’s portable fire extinguishers, as covered in NFPA 10(98), Sec. 4-4.

Annual fire extinguisher maintenance inspections should be performed by a professional fire protection company. These companies have the proper tools and training to ensure optimal compliance while recognizing and correcting any potentially hazardous situations. Once a fire extinguisher passes its annual maintenance, it is verified with a dated inspection tag. That tag is good for one year from the date indicated. If the unit fails to pass the inspection, it must be repaired or replaced.

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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.

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 hoses, hydrostatic testing and more. Serving El Paso TX, Las Cruces NM and the surrounding areas, we pride ourselves on buying local and hiring local whenever possible.

Jay L Harman Fire Equipment is your go-to distributor for OVAL low-profile fire extinguishers in West Texas and New Mexico.

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 training, firefighting services, firefighting products, request a quote, ask a question or request additional information.