Inspect Fire Extinguishers to Ensure Proper Operation

Inspecting your fire extinguishers regularly will help ensure that they work properly if/when you need to use them. This article features an easy-to-follow overview of how to conduct your own extinguisher inspections.
Appropriate care and regular upkeep of portable fire extinguishers can help ensure proper operation and potentially minimize property damage during a fire. Annual inspections completed by a state-licensed contractor is the first step in proper extinguisher maintenance. Additionally, you should verify for yourself that your portable fire extinguishers are fully charged, in operable condition and in their designated places by conducting monthly self-inspections.
Monthly self-inspections should follow the steps below:
  1. Location: Are all of the extinguishers properly mounted in their designated locations, clearly visible, and with no obstructions for their use?

  1. Charge: Check the pressure gauge to verify that they are properly charged. The indicator should be within the green zone.

  1. Pull Pin/Tamper Seal: Are the pull pin and tamper seal in place? 
  1. Condition of the Canister and Hose: Is the canister in good condition with no signs of damage, leaking or corrosion? Are the hose and nozzle in good condition with no signs of obstructions, cracking, or other damage?
  1. Rock: Have all dry-powder extinguishers been gently rocked from top to bottom, to ensure that the powder is not packing?
  1. Notate Self-Inspection: If all five checks are good, sign and date the service tag.
Self-inspections of fire extinguishers are easy and do not take very long. They should be completed monthly for every extinguisher and documented on their service tags. For more information on fire prevention, go to the Nationwide Loss Control Services website, where we also have an easy-to-follow infographic on how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
The information presented here is intended to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nothing here is intended to imply a grant of coverage.  Each claim will be evaluated on its own merits and circumstances. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2021 Nationwide

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