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Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Extinguishers

Last Updated: August 5, 2015

As a building owner or manager, you know the requirements for fire extinguisher installation and inspection. But you may have more questions about those extinguishers placed throughout your facility. Whether you own a warehouse or office building, it’s important to understand how and why fire extinguishers work so that you can best protect your employees and customers.

State Systems is a leading fire protection company in the Mid-South. We service Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi and can answer any question you may have about your fire extinguishers or fire protection systems. Below, we’ve answered three commonly asked questions about fire extinguishers.

For more information or to schedule fire extinguisher repair, replacement or recharging for your Mid-South building, call us today at 901-531-6550.

Will my fire extinguisher stay charged after it’s been used?

Fire extinguishers quickly extinguish a fire by the use of a pressurized propellant (similar to an aerosol can). When operating a fire extinguisher, you likely know to follow the PASS method (Pull the ring, Aim the nozzle, Squeeze the handle, Sweep across the fire). When you do squeeze the handle, a valve is opened that releases the pressurized gas from the steel canister. Because it is pressurized, the gas immediately begins expanding to fill and push the agent (water, dry chemical or carbon dioxide) out of the nozzle. Even a small discharge of your extinguisher can lower the pressure of the propellant enough to prevent another discharge. You can easily determine if your fire extinguisher has enough pressure by checking the gauges. Look for the arrow to be pointing to the green section to determine if it’s charged and ready to work properly in putting out a fire.

Even if you’ve discharged your fire extinguisher only a little, it needs to be serviced, recharged or replaced immediately. You cannot plan for a fire, so call a local fire protection company for service ASAP after one of your extinguishers has been used.

State Systems offers 24/7 fire extinguisher recharging and repair services throughout the Mid-South. We also offer fire extinguisher training classes to ensure your employees are prepared to minimize fire damage should a fire occur in your building.

How long is my fire extinguisher good for?

If determining if your fire extinguisher is still operational, you should follow these three steps:

  1. Check the date of manufacture – all fire extinguishers designed for commercial use will have a date of manufacture listed on the label or stamped on the canister. Some extinguishers require refilling or refurbishing after five or six years. If your fire extinguishers are older than that (and there hasn’t been a recent inspection by a professional), it’s best to call a professional for inspection or replacement.
  2. Check for annual inspections – your fire extinguishers should be inspected and checked monthly. On the extinguisher, there should be a tag that indicates when an inspection has been performed by a licensed company each year since the date of manufacture. Designate someone in the office to check the fire extinguishers monthly to make sure that they are easily accessible and that the gauge points in the green.
  3. Check for required internal maintenance – the NFPA sets that internal maintenance be performed at a certain interval to ensure the integrity of the fire extinguisher. Wet chemical and CO2 fire extinguishers should be hydrotested every five years. Dry chemical fire extinguishers should be hydrotested every 12 years.

If you are unsure of any of the above steps, or still are not certain your fire extinguishers are in good working order, contact a fire extinguisher expert to get more information and help you safely dispose of and replace your fire extinguishers.

What is the difference between fire extinguishers from a big box store versus purchasing them through a fire extinguisher service provider?

You’ve likely seen fire extinguishers for sale in big box stores in your area, and while these may be good as a temporary solution or for homeowners, business managers or owners should go through a fire extinguisher service provider when equipping their buildings with the proper extinguishers. The main reason going for through a professional, rather than the checkout lane, is that it becomes more practical and cost-efficient to buy your fire extinguishers from a fire extinguisher service provider when all the considerations needed for compliance and adequate protection are taken into account. A professional can ensure that your fire extinguishers are installed properly throughout your building and are on hand to call when you need scheduled inspection or emergency repair or replacement.

A fire extinguisher service provider, such as State Systems, will also be able to provide the right type of extinguisher that you need for specific fire hazards—when purchasing in a store you may not know which type is best for the fires that may occur in your building. Purchasing the wrong type, such as an ABC fire extinguisher for kitchen fires, can do more damage than good.

A professional fire extinguisher service provider can also provide you with a commercial-grade and better quality fire extinguisher. The units sold in big box stores are often lower quality and residential-grade. An annual certification tag is required for compliance by your local fire marshal to stay up to code—working through a professional, this does not become an issue and the tag is easily supplied and kept up to date.

Fire Extinguisher Services in the Mid-South

A clear head and a working fire extinguisher are two of the most important things you can have on your side if a fire breaks out. And at State Systems, we’re happy to provide both! Not only do we provide fire extinguisher installation, inspection and maintenance, but we also train your employees on how to react to a fire to minimize damage and downtime and help you get back on track as quickly as possible. Call us today and ask about our fire extinguisher services offered through Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.

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