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Five Things Business Owners Need to Know About Fire Extinguishers

Posted on: October 25, 2017

As a business owner in New Jersey, Delaware, or Philadelphia, chances are you have at least one fire extinguisher in your building. Is this fire protection equipment up to code? To make sure, take a moment to brush up on five things you need to know about fire extinguishers.

1. Extinguishers Are Designed for Specific Types of Fires

Grease fires have different qualities than electrical fires, and therefore, they require different extinguishing methods. This is why it’s so important to purchase extinguishers that match the types of blazes most likely to ignite in your business. The most common types of fire extinguishers include:

  • Multi-purpose ABC dry chemical fire extinguishers for putting out Class A (ordinary), Class B (flammable liquid), and Class C (electrical) fires in normal settings.
  • Water mist fire extinguishers for environments with sensitive equipment that could be damaged by the chemicals found in ABC fire extinguishers.
  • Class K wet chemical fire extinguishers for grease fires in commercial kitchens.
  • Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers to put out Class B and C fires in laboratories and similar environments.
  • Sodium chloride fire extinguishers to put out Class D (flammable metal) fires in industrial settings.

2. OSHA Requires Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspections

The most critical inspections are those performed once a year by a professional fire protection company. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires monthly visual inspections as well. Fortunately, you can assign a staff member to perform this task with no rigorous training needed. These inspections include:

  • Confirming the presence and location of each fire extinguisher
  • Ensuring the canister has no apparent signs of damage or tampering
  • Checking the pressure gauge
  • Making sure the operating instructions are legible

3. Fire Extinguishers Must be Recharged After Every Use

Maintaining fully charged fire extinguishers is a vital part of keeping your building as safe from fire as possible. If you recently discharged a small amount of extinguishing agent to fight a fire, or even if an accidental discharge took place, make it a priority to top off the extinguisher so it’s ready to go the next time a fire emergency strikes. Fire extinguisher recharging is an affordable service available for reusable canisters.

4. Fire Extinguishers Don’t Last Forever

While canisters don’t necessarily have an expiration date, it’s important to keep up with necessary testing and fire extinguisher replacement requirements. Rechargeable canisters can last for decades, but to stay in use, they must pass a hydrotest every 12 years. However, disposable extinguishers can’t be recharged. This requires you to replace them every 12 years in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.

5. You Must Dispose of Fire Extinguishers Properly

When it’s time to dispose of an old canister, you can’t just throw it in the trash. For mostly or entirely full extinguishers, call your local fire department and inquire about dropping off old canisters at the firehouse. If this isn’t an option, take your extinguisher to a hazardous waste disposal facility.

For nearly empty fire extinguishers, start by squeezing the lever to ensure no pressure remains inside. Remove the extinguisher head so it’s evident that the canister is empty. Call a local steel recycling facility and ask if you can drop off the shell.

Schedule Fire Extinguisher Services in New Jersey, Delaware, or Philadelphia

Confires is pleased to offer the fire extinguisher services you need to keep your building safe and code compliant. Whether you need to purchase new extinguishers, schedule an annual inspection, or recharge your canisters, we’re here for you.

The next time you need fire extinguisher services in New Jersey, Delaware, or Philadelphia, please contact Confires online or call us at 888-228-0917.

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