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When Is the Time for Fire Extinguisher Inspection

Fire extinguisher maintenance and inspection is imperative for the safety of your employees and your family for the fire protection of your property, business, home, warehouse or residential property.  The best way to ensure safety and make sure your fire extinguishers are up to code is to abide by the inspection and maintenance requirements at the federal, state and local levels.  You may also want to speak with your local fire inspectors, AHJ’s and fire extinguisher manufacturers.

In addition, we are providing a guide on different types of inspections and how often they should be performed. As a responsible employer or homeowner, you should have the number of a reliable Orange County fire extinguisher inspection service provider close by and schedule the required inspections.

Fire Extinguisher Codes and Requirements

Requirements on the federal level are prescribed by the National Fire Protection Association in NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers.  In addition, employers and home owners in Orange County also abide by requirements set by the California Code of Regulations, Title 19, Chapter 3, Fire Extinguishers.  You may also refer to the State of California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 6151 on Portable Fire Extinguishers.

Federal and state requirements both specify four inspection categories:

  1. Monthly inspection
  2. Annual inspection
  3. Recharge inspection (6-Year Maintenance)
  4. Hydrostatic testing (5 & 12 Year)

An additional requirement is that all inspections are recorded on a certification tag hung and attached to every fire extinguisher, as well as other tags attached to the cylinder or the extinguisher itself, depending on the type of inspection (for example: Hydrotest Labels, Recharge Collars, etc.).  Written records may also be made using electronic building reports.

Monthly Visual Inspection

According to both federal and state requirements, all fire extinguishers require monthly visual inspection. When inspecting your fire extinguisher, pay attention to the following:

  1. Is the fire extinguisher located in the designated place?
  2. Are there any obstructions to access or visibility?
  3. Are the operating instructions on the nameplate legible and facing forward?
  4. Are the safety seals and tamper indicators not broken?
  5. Is there any obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle?
  6. Is the pressure gauge reading or indicator in the operable range or position?
  7. Determine the fullness by the weight or hefting.

Finally, make sure that the needle on the pressure gauge is in the green area. Don’t forget to record the inspection on the hanging certification tag!

You can carry out the inspection yourself, but troubleshooting some of the issues most often requires the help of a licensed fire extinguisher inspection service, especially if the pressure in your fire extinguisher is low.

Annual Maintenance Check

While monthly check-ups are only visual, annual maintenance checks are more detailed. Therefore, you should hire a professional to look into it, rather than try to do it yourself. Annual inspections include checking:

  1. Mechanical parts
  2. Extinguishing & Fire-suppression agent
  3. Expellant Means & Delivery system

Any damages or irregularities need immediate repair. Refilling might also be necessary, depending on whether you have already used your fire extinguisher. The person who performed the inspection or any consequent repairs has to record the data on the extinguisher’s tag.


California Code of Regulations, Title 19, Chapter 3, Fire Extinguishers says in part that all rechargeable type extinguishers shall be recharged after use or as indicated by an inspection or when performing maintenance.

When performing the recharging, the recommendations of the manufacturers shall be followed.  The amount of recharge agent shall be verified by weighing on an accurate scale.  The total weight shall be within the allowable tolerances specified by the manufacturer.

5-Year and 12-Year Hydrostatic Testing

This type of inspection and testing also concerns dry chemical and other types of extinguishers. The aim of this testing is to check whether the pressure in the extinguisher cylinder complies with factory standards. A hydrostatic testing facility has suitable testing equipment, facilities and appropriate servicing manuals.

Under no circumstances should you try and perform the inspection yourself – leave the job to trained professionals with practical experience with office fires causes solutions.  Hydrostatic Testing requires documentation on the extinguisher’s certification tag as well as the label attached to the cylinder.

Unscheduled Fire Extinguisher Inspection: IMMEDIATELY AFTER USE

If you have already used your fire extinguisher to put out a fire, you need to call a professional fire extinguisher inspection service in Orange County to check the used extinguisher and make sure it’s safe for future use.

Superior Fire Extinguisher Inspection Orange County

Red Truck Fire and Safety Company is your trusted provider of fire extinguisher inspection, maintenance, repair and installation, and more. As a member of NFPA®, NAFED and CALSAFE (California Association of Life Safety and Fire Equipment), we are well-informed with the federal and state requirements. If you suspect your fire extinguisher needs repair, or you want to learn more about our inspection service, give us a call at (800) 973-3878 or fill out our online form to request a quote – we are always happy to help!

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