How do I know if my fire extinguisher needs service?

Great question!

An obvious one is if you have used your fire extinguisher for any reason. If your fire extinguisher has been discharged (even just a little bit), it must be recharged immediately.

Otherwise, you can simply look at the current inspection/certification tag that is most likely hanging on your fire extinguisher. On it, you will see where it has been "hole punched" indicating the last service. You should see the month and year.

For example, if it is punched in the month of March and punched in the year 2013, then it received service at that time. Most likely it was the required annual maintenance service. So, remember that fire extinguishers MUST be serviced at least once per year. In the above example, this fire extinguisher would need it's annual service in the month of March, 2014, one year from the last inspection. Anytime after March, 2014 without being re-inspected would mean a non-compliant fire extinguisher and therefore, subject to violation and/or fines by any number of Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ's)

Do I have to pay at the time of service?

Well, if you are a new customer to Fire safety Services and you mention this web site, you are entitled to a 5% discount when paid in full at the time of service. Something to consider!

If you do not meet the above and/or simply pass on the offer, we are happy to invoice our customers for our services. Our payment terms are Due on Receipt of the invoice.

Payment methods must be cash, check or credit card. We currently accept visa and master card.

When can you schedule my service?

Often times, we can schedule your fire extinguisher service for the same day or within 24 hours!

Worst case scenario, we will perform service within 72 business hours from the time we are authorized to perform fire extinguisher services.

Who is the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)?

Good question!

It can actually be several different entities depending on your type of business.

Most often and for nearly ALL businesses, it is your local Fire Department. The Fire Department in most Cities and Counties is the organization responsible for Code enforcement of Fire and Life/Safety requirements.

However, IN ADDITION to the Fire Department, there are other AHJ's you may need to be concerned with. This includes property and casualty insurance carriers, City and State Departments, Health Departments, OSHA and special licensing and certification organizations that your company may require.

Service Calls Stink!

Yes they do!

We know, because on occasion we as a company have to pay them as well. Like when our drains backed up in the shop and we had to call a plumber.

Thankfully however, we had a plumber! And with him, came all of his tools, parts, etc. Job done!

We also recognize that from the time we called the plumber to the time he showed up, he WAS WORKING FOR ME!

Unfortunately, with today's gas prices, insurance, vehicle maintenance, etc. All of us in the mobile service business must compensate for these expenses.

The difference however, is how much for a service call?

At Fire Safety Services, you will find that our service calls are fair, honest and consistently below that of our competitors. We simply need to get to you to perform our services, that's all.

Do you come back each year to do my service?

You bet we do!

We appreciate your business and enjoy helping to keep you safe smile

As a former Fire Inspector, our owner and founder saw first hand, the frustrations of business owners and managers that their previous fire extinguisher company always promised to come back next year and constantly failed to do so. This leaving them with a violation from the Fire Department and another thing to deal with they should not have to IF they have hired the right company. Fire Safety Services IS the right company!!! We deliver what others have promised.

We pride ourselves on maintaining our customers records of inspection so that they are assured we will keep them in compliance as required. If your fire extinguisher service is due in March, then we will be there in March. Year after year.

Do fire extinguishers last forever?

Kind of!?

When serviced properly as required by law, a fire extinguisher essentially can last forever.

However, there are circumstances that may require you to replace an old fire extinguisher. Most commonly, this is damage and/or age.

If the cylinder of a fire extinguisher is damaged to the point that the structural integrity may be compromised making it unsafe for use, then it must be condemned and replaced. This could be caused by being dropped or crushed, etc. In outdoor locations, rust can cause the cylinder to be damaged and weak.

Fire extinguishers manufactured prior to 1984 do not meet the requirements of today's laws and should also be replaced. As a rule of thumb, if a fire extinguisher is more than 20 years old and needs additional service such as recharging, Six-Year Maintenance, Hydrostatic Test or even repairs, it should also be replaced. This rule is mainly because parts often times are no longer available from the manufacturer.

Can't I just go buy a new fire extinguisher at Home Depot or something?

Sure you can!

But remember this....

A fire extinguisher only gets ONE CHANCE! So, what type of quality do you want in your hands when trying to save your property or even a life?

Fact is, the quality of fire extinguishers available in "big box" stores is far less than those available only through qualified fire extinguisher companies and distributors.

Not to mention, that most Fire Departments may or may not even approve a new fire extinguisher that is not properly certified and does not bear the required inspection tag that hangs from the fire extinguisher.

Remember, you only get ONE CHANCE! For a few extra dollars, go for the best quality and have the peace of mind knowing your fire extinguisher will work when needed and meets the approval of your local Fire Department.

How do multi-class dry chemical fire extinguishers work?

If you ask any firefighter what it takes to create a fire, you will learn that you must to have three elements:

  1. A fuel - some sort of combustible solid, liquid or gas
  2. Oxygen to react with the fuel
  3. Heat - there must be enough heat to get the fuel above its flash point. There is paper on your desk right now that is surrounded by oxygen. It does not burn unless you get the paper hot enough.

If you want to put out a fire, you need to remove one of the three elements. When you watch firefighters battling a forest fire, they generally try to remove fuel or heat. Either they pour water on the fire to reduce the temperature, or they try to bulldoze strips of bare earth to eliminate the fuel.

A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher works by eliminating oxygen and replacing it with carbon dioxide. You could do the same thing with just about any non-oxidizing gas (nitrogen, for example), but carbon dioxide is inexpensive and easy to store.

Another way to cut off oxygen is to throw a blanket over the fire. Covering the fire with dirt or sand does the same thing. You might have heard that you can put out a kitchen fire by throwing baking soda or salt on the fire. Throwing sand would do the same thing, but most people have more salt in their kitchens than they have sand.

Dry chemical fire extinguishers are by far the most common fire extinguishers in the home. They can handle all three types of fires you would find in a kitchen or workshop: combustible solids like wood or paper, combustible liquids like gasoline or grease, and electrical fires. The idea behind a dry chemical fire extinguisher is to blanket the fuel with an inert solid (similar to dirt or sand). A dry chemical extinguisher sprays a very fine power of sodium bicarbonate (normal baking soda), potassium bicarbonate (nearly identical to baking soda), or monoammonium phosphate. These solids coat the fuel and smother the fire.

What exactly does Hydrostatic Test mean?

A Hydrostatic Test is required on certain fire extinguishers at specific time intervals based on the type of fire extinguisher. Typically every 12 years or 5 years.

A Hydrostatic Test is an internal inspection of the fire extinguisher AND a recertification of the structural integrity of the fire extinguisher cylinder.

Basically, this ensures that the fire extinguisher is absolutely safe to use and will continue to withstand the internal pressures it contains.

What exactly does Six-Year Maintenance mean?

Six-Year Maintenance is required on certain fire extinguishers beginning six years from the original date the fire extinguisher was manufactured.

It consist of an internal inspection of the fire extinguisher to thoroughly inspect all working components and the extinguishing agent (chemical) itself.

The fire extinguisher must be discharged and disassembled for complete inspection. This requirement ensures the utmost reliability of your fire extinguisher.

What exactly does the annual maintenance service mean?

Well, it is no secret that this particular requirement does not take a brain surgeon to perform, but extremely important nonetheless! It must also be performed by a qualified, trained and licensed individual or organization.

Annual fire extinguisher service and maintenance is required of ANY and ALL fire extinguishers at least annually.

Annual service simply consist of inspecting the fire extinguishers working components to reasonably presume that the fire extinguisher will work as designed. This includes determining if the fire extinguisher is fully charged, no broken or missing parts, it is in the designated location, etc. This service most importantly will also determine if any "additional services" are required such as Six-Year Maintenance and Hydrostatic Test.

Need a brain tumor removed?

Seriously, it may sound silly, but the fact is, we are lucky to be so fire wise in the United States and thus things like our fire extinguishers are often forgot about. Until we need them of course, and then oh no, it does not work, or I forgot I used it at that party and did not get it recharged.

We find they are usually out of sight and out of mind. This Law ensures that they cannot be forgotten! You just may need one someday, fire can strike without warning!

What fire extinguisher services are required by Law?

In short, fire extinguishers are required to be serviced and maintained at least annually by a qualified individual who has undergone the necessary factory training.

Additionally, fire extinguishers are subject to internal maintenance and service at specific intervals such as 5, 6 years and 12 years. This varies depending on the actual type of fire extinguisher. Such maintenance may include the Six-Year Maintenance and Hydrostatic Test procedures.

Of course, all fire extinguishers of any kind are always required to be maintained in an operable condition at all times. Therefore, other types of services that may be required, may include but not limited to, recharging, handle repairs, hose, horn or nozzle repair or replacement, conductivity test, proper mounting and location, signage, etc.