Portable fire extinguishers should be inspected by a professional every year, and should receive a visual inspection on a monthly basis. Visual inspections are quick checks to ensure the extinguisher is fully charged and ready for use, and anyone can perform them. In fact, we encourage you to learn how to inspect your extinguisher by following the steps below, and to contact Fire Prevention Services if you notice problems with a campus extinguisher.
Locate the Extinguisher
The first step is to become familiar with the location and type of portable extinguishers available for use. To locate extinguishers on campus, determine whether they are stored via fire hose cabinets, fire extinguisher cabinets, or wall-mounted brackets. In off-campus facilities, establish whether extinguishers are kept in individual rooms, hallways, or even outside your home in common areas of your apartment complex.
Perform the Inspection
Once you locate the portable extinguishers in your area, the next step is learning the process of visual inspection. Visual inspections should include the following steps:
- Ensure access to the extinguisher is not obstructed by storage bins, file cabinets, or similar items
- Make sure the extinguisher is mounted in a location where it is visible and easy to locate during an emergency
- Check the tamper-seal to verify it is not broken or missing
- Ensure the pull-pin is not missing
- Check the pressure gauge to make sure the indicator is in the operating range (the needle should be located in the green portion of the gauge)
- Note: Carbon Dioxide extinguishers do not have a gauge. The only method for verifying a carbon dioxide extinguisher is fully-charged is to weigh the unit, and weighing extinguishers is outside the scope of the normal visual inspection.
- Check the extinguisher for obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or a clogged nozzle, and report any problems with campus extinguishers to Fire Prevention Services so we can make corrective measures
- Keep track of when the last professional inspection was; off-campus this information is likely written on a paper inspection tag, and on campus Fire Prevention Services monitors the dates of annual inspections through barcodes on the extinguishers