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Fire extinguishers are the first line of defense against fire and a valuable means to protect yourself during an emergency. Make sure your home or office building has fire extinguishers and that they are always ready to use. Local fire codes require that all buildings have working fire extinguishers; the National Fire Protection Association recommends that fire extinguishers in commercial and large residential buildings be inspected every month. This includes inspecting the unit, cleaning it and checking the pull pin. The law in many states requires fire extinguishers to be inspected by a licensed professional fire extinguisher inspector at least once per year.

Annual three-part inspection

In general, an annual fire extinguisher inspection costs about $40 per unit. The inspection happens in three parts:

  • The visual inspection, which includes checking the gauges, dates and cylinder

  • The physical inspection, which includes checking the weight of the extinguisher, the hose and the seals

  • The verification of the unit, which includes tagging the extinguisher and noting its location and the date of the inspection

The inspector, such as A to Z Fire & Security in Tampa, Florida, or Fire Co. in Sugar Land, Texas, will make sure that the extinguisher is visible in the building, unobstructed and in its designated location. The inspector will also make sure that the locking pin is intact and the tamper seal is unbroken, and that there’s no physical damage such as corrosion or leakage. Finally, the fire extinguisher inspector makes sure the extinguisher is still full and that the pressure indicator is in the operable position.

Six-year maintenance

Fire extinguishers must be recharged every six years, a service also performed by fire extinguisher inspectors. Usually, the recharge fee is less than the cost of replacing the unit; on average this is about $35 per unit.

12-year maintenance

Every 12 years, fire extinguishers must be hydrotested to ensure the safety and integrity of the tank. Depending on the cost, it can be more affordable to simply replace older units. Office-grade fire extinguishers range from $35 to $75 each.

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