A checklist inspection of fire extinguishers is important for the safety of family, friends and co-workers. While in a workplace scenario, safety officers use fire extinguisher checklists monthly to verify that fire extinguishers meet safety requirements, all employees should be aware of fire extinguisher locations and conditions. Any fire extinguisher that is blocked or covered, rusty, damaged or showing signs of wear or with a pressure gauge reading empty, needs to be attended to by the employee, safety officer or a supervisor.
A general fire extinguisher checklist will include a number of items necessary for upkeep, safety and documentary purposes. The checklist should be checked annually or monthly and include inspection date, tagged information, pictographs, location analysis, pressure gauge, damage and number analysis.
Tagged information should note the date of purchase, maintenance dates and who performed the maintenance, UL approval, fire extinguisher type and pictographs. Pictographs should illustrate usage instructions. The location and number checks should confirm that the proper type and number of fire extinguishers are appropriate for the setting. For example a type C extinguisher can be used in a shop or classroom while a Halon type extinguisher would be appropriate for a computer laboratory. A visual inspection should note if the pressure gauge indicates a full tank and if there is any apparent damage to the extinguisher.
Work or School Location
The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have set guidelines for fire extinguisher placement, use, maintenance and testing in work and school environments. Fire extinguisher checklists for work and school environments will contain the general checklist requirements but will also have additional related items to check. Checklists will need to address location specific requirements for the type and number of fire extinguishers needed, location analysis and accessibility and the training requirements for safety officers. Additionally, fire extinguisher checklists may include procedural and documentary steps to dispose of, test, replace or recharge damaged, used or leaking fire extinguishers.
OSHA states that the maximum distances to a portable fire extinguisher are 75 feet for type A and D extinguishers, 50 feet for type B and 50 to 75 feet for type C extinguishers.
Fire extinguisher owner’s manuals will provide information on how often a fire extinguisher should be hydrostatically tested for leaks.
Additional mounting site specific requirements may address the storage of and mounting of fire extinguishers. These requirements refer to fire extinguishers in cabinets and cover the type of cabinet and whether it is kept locked or not.
Obsolete Fire Extinguisher List
Certain types of fire extinguishers are not longer in use and in environments where these had been used may need to periodically check to make sure all extinguishers are of an approved type. Fire extinguishers that are soldered or riveted shell self-generating soda acid or self-generate foam or are a gas cartridge water type should be removed from service. In addition, fire extinguishers using carbon tetrachloride or chlorobromomethane are prohibited for use.
Fire extinguisher checklists for work and school environments will need to include documentation of training. This section on a master checklist or a separate checklist will verify that all employees have been trained in fire extinguisher use at their initial employment training and yearly thereafter.
Care and Maintenance of your Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher 101
Portable Fire Extinguishers, Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Fire Extinguisher Inspection Checklist, UC San Diego
Portable Fire Extinguishers Schools, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healt