Fire extinguishers need to be checked and tested regularly, just like any other part of a fire protection system, to make sure there are no problems and that the extinguisher will work well when it is used.

What is Hydrostatic Testing?

Every twelve years, a fire extinguisher is put through a hydrostatic test to see if it has any weak spots or other problems. During a hydrostatic test, the fire extinguisher is filled with water and put under a higher-than-normal amount of pressure. The fire extinguisher stays at this high pressure for a certain amount of time, during which it is checked for leaks and other problems.
Hydrostatic tests are done on ABC extinguishers that can be used more than once, but not on ones that can only be used once. On the label of the fire extinguisher, it will say whether it can be used more than once or only once.

Steps of a Hydrostatic Test

  • Visual inspection
  • Hose removal
  • Discharge
  • Valve removal
  • Pressure testing
  • Drain, Clean and Dry the Cylinder
  • Reassemble the Extinguisher

How Often Should My Extinguisher Be Inspected?

Fire extinguishers need to be checked, tested, and fixed on a regular basis to make sure they are ready to use. Building owners should look at fire extinguishers once a month to make sure they still meet NFPA standards. Visual inspections are done once a month to look for damage and make sure things are easy to get to.
A technician also needs to check on fire extinguishers once a year. During an annual check, the fire extinguisher is looked at and the tamper seal is taken off. Then, the pull pin is checked. After the pull pin has been checked, a new tamper seal is put on.
In addition to annual and monthly checks, hydrostatic tests are done once every 2 years.

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