Understanding Fire Code Compliance

OSHA and NFPA establish fire code regulations that every business must abide by. Some of these codes are hard to understand or navigate. If you recently had a visit from the Fire Marshall and have questions about the findings, contact us for the answers. We’ll also make it right before your re-inspection.
Here is a look at the most common regulation questions we hear and their answers.

OSHA requires that all fire extinguishers undergo a monthly inspection. NFPA requires yearly maintenance. They also require fire extinguishers be emptied at six years for an internal inspection. The NFPA also has stipulations for hydrostatic testing. Dry chemical and halogenated extinguishers need it every twelve years and carbon dioxide and water-based extinguishers every five years.

The NFPA requires semi-annual maintenance of all fire suppression systems in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual. They also require an internal inspection every six years for dry chemical systems and hydrostatic testing every twelve years.
All fusible and metal alloy links must be replaced every six months. Restaurant suppression systems must also comply with UL300 or equivalent standards.

OSHA requires adequate reliable lighting for all exits from your building as well as proper maintenance to assure it works.
NFPA requires specific lighting and performance of emergency and exit lighting and that you provide functional standards for battery-powered lighting. A monthly inspection must be performed as well as an annual test to remain compliant.

OSHA requires adequate reliable lighting for all exits from your building as well as proper maintenance to assure it works.
NFPA requires specific lighting and performance of emergency and exit lighting and that you provide functional standards for battery-powered lighting. A monthly inspection must be performed as well as an annual test to remain compliant.

Westminster Fire Extinguisher Services helps businesses maintain these regulations with little effort on your part. We discuss your needs, code requirements, and safety goals to personalize a fire safety and inspection plan that most benefits your business. Once you become one of our clients, the system is put on autopilot so you can continue with your other important responsibilities.
For more information on any of these regulations, visit OSHA or NFPA.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Although most units on the market appear the same visually, there are differences. Variables from the overall quality of the unit to the cost for future replacement parts should be considered. Higher quality units often carry a higher rating, which essentially means they are rated to extinguisher more fire.

Not only are fire extinguishers required, but they’re also proven to be highly effective in extinguishing fires when maintained and used properly.

All fire extinguishers include a “Born On” date for easy reference. On most units, the date is usually found on the label while some manufacturers stamp the date in the boot located on the extinguisher’s base. CO2 type extinguishers have the date stamped around the shoulder near the top.

Most fire extinguishers are made to be recharged and maintained. Unless the unit is damaged, it is normally more economical to repair the unit than to replace it. There is no charge for us to evaluate your fire extinguisher to determine what it necessary to return it to service. We will also provide an accurate quote for the cost of the necessary repairs or recharging.

Yes, you must have your fire extinguisher recharged even after minimal usage. Even though the unit feels heavy and/or is registering pressure on the gauge, the extinguisher may not have sufficient pressure for it’s next use. The unit should also be checked for powder clogging the discharge hose, incorrect valve seating or damage to the unit.

Regardless of what agency requires the specific inspection and maintenance on fire extinguishers, remember that these requirements exist to ensure the equipment will work properly when used. Even if your business never gets an inspection, your fire extinguishers should still be maintained. This will ensure they work properly if you do need them. By keeping them maintained, you will avoid further liability by an employee or customer using them on a fire, only to find they do not work due to lack of maintenance.

Yes. A fire extinguisher that appears to have pressure on the gauge and in excellent condition on the outside, is no guarantee that it will operate properly. Inspection levels including annual maintenance, 6-year internal maintenance and 12-year hydrostatic test are all intended to ensure the unit will operate safely, properly and effectively.

Fire extinguisher chemicals and powders are considered non-hazardous and can be swept or vacuumed for cleaning. Some irritation may occur similar to sawdust, floor dust or other fine powder. Ordinary safety equipment such as gloves, safety glasses and dust mask are recommended as a precaution.

The NFPA requires that we install this collar every time we perform a recharge, internal inspection or hydrostatic test on fire extinguisher. The collar can only be installed by discharging the unit, removing the valve and then recharging the unit. This provides evidence that the level of service documented for the fire extinguisher was actually performed.

Check the tag that hangs on the front of your fire extinguisher. It should have the month and year punched out, from the last service. These tags are valid for one-year from the date punched. (to the end of that month). If it has been more than one year since the last inspection or if there is no tag at all, the unit is now due for inspection.

No – not until you intend to use the fire extinguisher on an actual fire. This is a tamper seal that is in place to keep the pull pin from coming out and allowing an accidental discharge. It is designed to be broken by ordinary force of removing the pull pin by hand. You should not need scissors or cutters to remove the seal.