Fire extinguishers are essential safety devices that can help prevent the spread of fire and save lives. But do you know how to use them properly and when to replace them? In this article, we will answer some common questions about fire extinguishers, such as:
- Are fire extinguishers one time use?
- How do you know if a fire extinguisher is still good?
- How do you dispose of a fire extinguisher safely and responsibly?
|Are fire extinguishers a one-time use?||Most fire extinguishers are one time use, meaning they need to be replaced or recharged after each use. Some models are rechargeable and can be serviced by a professional.|
|How do you know if a fire extinguisher is still good?||You can check the pressure gauge, the inspection tag, the external condition, and the age of the fire extinguisher to determine if it is still good. A fire extinguisher should be replaced if it is low on pressure, damaged, missing a tag, or more than 10 years old.|
|How do you dispose of a fire extinguisher safely and responsibly?||You can recycle an empty fire extinguisher by taking it to your local recycling center or hazardous waste facility. You can also contact your local fire department or a fire extinguisher service company to see if they accept charged or partially charged fire extinguishers.|
Are Fire Extinguishers One Time Use?
The answer to this question depends on the type and model of the fire extinguisher. Most fire extinguishers are one time use, meaning they need to be replaced or recharged after each use. This is because the extinguishing agent inside the cylinder is either consumed or loses pressure when discharged.
Some models of fire extinguishers are rechargeable and can be serviced by a professional after each use. However, not all fire extinguishers can be recharged, and not all areas have access to the equipment and expertise needed to refill and repressurize a fire extinguisher. Therefore, it is important to check the label and instructions of your fire extinguisher before attempting to reuse it.
The following table summarizes the main types of fire extinguishers and whether they are one time use or rechargeable.
|Type of Fire Extinguisher||Extinguishing Agent||One Time Use or Rechargeable|
|Water||Water or water with additives||Rechargeable|
|Foam||Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) or film-forming fluoroprotein (FFFP)||Rechargeable|
|Dry Powder||Sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, ammonium phosphate, or other powders||One time use|
|Carbon Dioxide (CO2)||Carbon dioxide gas||Rechargeable|
|Wet Chemical||Potassium acetate, potassium citrate, or potassium carbonate||Rechargeable|
How Do You Know If a Fire Extinguisher Is Still Good?
Even if you have not used your fire extinguisher, it may not be still good for various reasons. Fire extinguishers typically last 10-12 years, but they may lose their effectiveness sooner due to factors such as damage, leakage, corrosion, or exposure to extreme temperatures.
To ensure that your fire extinguisher is still good and ready for use in case of an emergency, you should perform a visual inspection at least once a month. Here are some steps to follow:
- Check the location and accessibility of the fire extinguisher. It should be placed in a visible and reachable spot, away from potential fire hazards.
- Check the pressure gauge of the fire extinguisher. It should be in the green zone, indicating that it is fully pressurized. If it is in the yellow or red zone, it means that it is low on pressure and needs to be replaced or recharged.
- Check the inspection tag or sticker of the fire extinguisher. It should show the date of the last inspection and maintenance by a certified professional. If the tag or sticker is missing or outdated, you should contact a fire extinguisher service company to schedule an inspection.
- Check the external condition of the fire extinguisher. It should have no signs of damage or disrepair, such as cracks, dents, rust, leaks, clogs, or missing parts. The hose, nozzle, handle, and locking pin should all be intact and functional.
- Check the age of the fire extinguisher. You can find the manufacture date on the label or on the bottom of the cylinder. If the fire extinguisher is more than 10 years old, you should replace it with a new one.
If you notice any problems with your fire extinguisher during your inspection, you should not use it and replace it as soon as possible.
How Do You Dispose of a Fire Extinguisher Safely and Responsibly?
Fire extinguishers contain chemicals that are unsafe to throw into the trash or recycle bins. They may also pose a risk of explosion or injury if handled improperly. Therefore, you should dispose of your fire extinguisher safely and responsibly by following these steps:
- Determine if the fire extinguisher is empty or charged. You can do this by checking the pressure gauge or by weighing the cylinder. An empty fire extinguisher will weigh much less than a charged one.
- If the fire extinguisher is empty, you can recycle it by taking it to your local recycling center or hazardous waste facility. You may need to remove the plastic parts and the nozzle before recycling the metal cylinder. You may also need to puncture the cylinder to make sure it is completely empty and depressurized.
- If the fire extinguisher is charged or partially charged, you should not attempt to empty it yourself. You can contact your local fire department or a fire extinguisher service company to see if they accept recycled or disposed of fire extinguishers. They may be able to recharge, reuse, or safely dispose of your fire extinguisher for you.
- If you cannot find a place that accepts your fire extinguisher, you can take it to a hazardous waste disposal facility in your area. You should call ahead and ask about their policies and procedures for fire extinguisher disposal. You should also transport the fire extinguisher securely and carefully, avoiding any impact or heat that may cause it to rupture or leak.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you dispose of your fire extinguisher in a way that is safe for you and the environment.