Do you have any old fire extinguishers at your business or home? It is important to check for their expiration and remove immediately when it is no longer usable. You don’t want anyone to try and use it in an emergency. How do you know when a fire extinguisher has expired and how do you dispose of it? These questions will be answered here.
How Long Does a Fire Extinguisher Last?
A fire extinguisher should last 10-12 years if it is maintained properly. Disposable extinguishers must be replaced every 12 years, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. They lose pressure over time and need to be replaced for safety reasons. Rechargeable extinguishers may last longer if it passes the hydro-static test for the shell’s integrity.
When is it Time to Replace a Fire Extinguisher?
You should dispose of an old fire extinguisher if:
- The canister is slowly losing pressure, even though you haven’t used it in a long time.
- The hose or nozzle is cracked or clogged, which could make the extinguisher unreliable.
- The handle is wobbly or broken, making it difficult to hold.
- The pin is missing or damaged, which could result in an accidental discharge.
- The shell is damaged, creating a safety hazard.
- The inspection tag is missing, so you have no idea when maintenance last took place or what condition the canister is in.
- The shell fails the hydro-static test, meaning it couldn’t withstand pressures up to 500 psi.
- You’ve had the same disposable fire extinguisher for 12 years (this style can’t be recharged).
How to Dispose an Old Fire Extinguisher:
- For fully or partially charged fire extinguishers, call your local fire department and ask if they accept expired fire extinguishers. If they don’t, take your extinguishers to a hazardous waste disposal facility.
- For empty fire extinguishers, squeeze the lever to make sure the pressure has been completely released. Remove the extinguisher head to indicate that the canister is empty. Call a local recycling facility to dispose of the steel shell.
If you’re not sure about the safety and reliability of your fire extinguishers, call Fire Control Systems for an inspection. We’ll recommend recharging or replacing your canisters based on what we find.