The number and type of fire extinguishers you require depends on the nature of your business and the risks involved. The best way to evaluate these risks is to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment, which is also part of your legal obligation as a business owner. Click here to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians who can provide a full assessment of your facilities and determine the appropriate level of protection required.
FIRST: Determine what type of fire extinguisher you have. Ratings are shown on the extinguisher faceplate.
- Class A and B extinguishers carry a numerical rating that indicates how large a fire an experienced person can safely put out with that extinguisher.
- Class C extinguishers have only a letter rating to indicate that the extinguishing agent will not conduct electrical current. Class C extinguishers must also carry a Class A or B rating.
- Class D extinguishers carry only a letter rating indicating their effectiveness on certain amounts of specific metals.
- Some extinguishers are marked with multiple ratings such as AB, BC and ABC. These extinguishers are capable of putting out more than one class of fire.
- Multipurpose (ABC-rated) chemical extinguishers leave a residue that can harm sensitive equipment, such as computers and other electronic equipment. Because of this, carbon dioxide or halon extinguishers are preferred in these instances because they leave very little residue.
SECOND: Has it ever been used?
- YOU CANNOT “TEST” A FIRE EXTINGUISHER. DRY CHEMICAL extinguishers will usually NOT hold a charge after partial use. This is also true for all your personal home and vehicle dry chemical extinguishers. While the gauge may hold steady in the green immediately after a slight use, check it the next day and you’ll find the gauge on EMPTY! This is because upon use the dry powder gets inside the seals and allows the nitrogen carrier to escape over a period of time. After ANY use a BC or ABC extinguisher MUST be serviced and recharged. This is very important for home extinguishers also; YOU SHOULD HAVE THE EXTINGUISHER REFILLED AFTER ANY USE.
- CO2 and halon extinguishers will generally hold their pressure after a slight discharge, HOWEVER, it is best to always have a full canister in case of an emergency.
THIRD: Some fire extinguishers are refillable as long as it is up to the current standards.
- Contact a Fire Safety Equipment dealer to determine if your fire extinguisher is refillable. Fire & Safety Commodities is located in Kenner, LA and services extinguishers in Kenner, New Orleans, Metairie, Houma, Hammond, Mandeville, Covington, Slidell, Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
Fire & Safety Commodities
922 Industry Road, Kenner, LA 70062
FOURTH: To dispose of an old fire extinguisher that cannot be refilled or that you do not wish to refill.
- Release any pressure contained in the canister by shooting a small amount into an open area.
- Let the canister sit for a few days, making sure the pressure has been released.
- Once there is no longer any pressure, dispose in a trash bag in your regular garbage.
The fire extinguisher is broken down and checked for damage. The “O” ring and gaskets are replaced and the extinguisher is recharged.