Portable fire extinguishers are an essential part of any commercial fire prevention system. Here’s to hoping you have the right types of extinguishers installed in the right places so you have maximum protection in your building!
But when do they expire and stop working and when they do – how do you dispose of them? That’s what we’re here to answer today.
The lifespan of a fire extinguisher
When properly maintained, fire extinguishers can last from about 10-12 years. Once they get to that point however, you should have them tested to make sure they’re safe. If the shell is in good shape, you can probably recharge the canister and continue to use it, but if it isn’t, it’s time to replace it as soon as possible.
When it’s time
Here’s when you should replace your old fire extinguisher:
- If the hose or nozzle is cracked or clogged
- If the canister is losing pressure even if it hasn’t been used in a while
- If the handle is broken or wobbly, making it unstable and difficult to hold
- If the shell of the extinguisher is damaged
- If there’s no pin or the pin is damaged
- If there isn’t an inspection tag
- If it fails a test by a fire safety professional
- If you’ve had a disposable extinguisher that hasn’t been used in 12 or more years (disposable extinguishers can’t be replaced)
What do I do with it?
The first thing you should do is call a fire safety company to come and inspect the extinguishers just be sure. Disposing them isn’t a complicated process, but it IS a pretty precise process. It’s best to let the pros handle it. Pressurized chemicals are dangerous – especially when not handled properly – so take the time and money and make sure you do it right.
If you don’t have a Fire Safety company that’s reasonable or in your local area, then just call the fire department. Most of them will let you drop them off at the firehouse. If they don’t, take them to a hazardous waste disposal facility.
Ongoing maintenance is a good idea
To avoid having to worry and constantly think about whether your extinguishers are safe or not – hire a fire safety company to perform regularly scheduled maintenance. If they find a problem or notice that a replacement is necessary, they’ll simply do it.
If you’re worried about the condition of your workplace fire extinguishers, give us a call and we’ll give you a free consultation. Good luck!