Why is the proper maintenance of portable fire extinguishers important?

February 9, 2022

by Nils Deacon, Manager, Inspections and Rating Services

Portable fire extinguishers are an extremely valuable part of fire protection in our everyday lives. According to the NFPA, they put out about 80% of initial fire emergencies a year across the country. Quick response is the key to fighting fires. Every second counts when faced with these life threatening occurrences.

NFPA 10, The Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers provides specific guidance for the maintenance and placement of extinguishers.

Fire extinguishers must be properly maintained and located to be effective. If someone needs to use a fire extinguisher in an emergency, it must be operational, easy to see, and placed in a path of travel.

In commercial settings especially, this would mean annual servicing by a qualified contractor. Servicing would include ensuring the working parts and physical condition are satisfactory, the extinguishing and expelling agents are operational, and that the unit is properly mounted. The standard calls for internal examination every 6 years.

DISCLAIMER: This information reflects the interpretation of MSO, Inc. with regard to NFPA Standards and Codes. It does not represent NFPA’s official position on the items discussed.

ABC dry chemical extinguisher properly hung and date tagged.