Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: These are general rules for informational purposes only. Consult with a certified Portable Fire Extinguisher Technician for any specific questions, or determining appropriate coverage for your facility.
Start at the exits and work your way in. That means doors and, on upper floors, the top of stairwells. A minimum of one extinguisher per level is required(including shop mezzanines). Small shops may only require one extinguisher, but it is still good practice to have one at each exit. After the exits are covered, check walking distance; from any point within the building there should be an extinguisher within 75 ft walking distance(not direct line) for low hazard environments or 50 ft for higher hazard environments. Size of extinguisher will be based on how much burnable stuff(fuel load) is in the area, and how easily burnable(flammability) that stuff is.
Extinguishers must be VISIBLE and ACCESSIBLE. This mean you must put them somewhere easy to get at(nothing in front of them) and easy to see from a distance. If they are not easily visible, then you will need signage to point them out. They cannot be left on the floor, and must be in a cabinet or mounted to the wall. The top of the extinguisher cannot be more than 5 ft from the ground, and heavy ones should be about waist height.
I only used a little bit, do I need to recharge it?
YES. Even if the needle is still in the green section, you still need to bring it in. The common dry chemical extinguishers use Nitrogen as propellant, and yellow powder to put the fire out. When you use the extinguisher the powder gets stuck in the valve assembly, holding it slightly open. The remaining nitrogen propellant will leak out slowly over the following weeks. Part of the recharging process includes cleaning all this up so the valve will seal properly again.
Do I need to shake it up?
If it is mounted in a building, it should be fine, the powder should not compact enough just sitting there to cause a problem. If it is in a vehicle, it is not a bad idea to loosen the powder regularly, as the vibration can pack the powder down. DO NOT HIT IT WITH A HAMMER. Turning it upside down and shaking gently should be enough, you should be able to hear and/or feel the powder shifting.
Fire Extinguishers are a pressure vessel, and should not be thrown into the garbage. Eco stations will usually accept single units from private citizens. Businesses or citizens with multiple Fire Extinguishers to dispose of should bring the Fire Extinguishers to a shop that can properly discharge and disassemble the Fire Extinguishers, and then recycle the metal components. Maverick Fire and Safety accepts Fire Extinguishers for disposal at our Nisku shop. We charge a fee per Fire Extinguisher to cover the labor for discharge and disassembly.