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Ask The Expert: Monthly Portable Fire Extinguisher Inspections

QUESTION

Our facility is an office building in Ontario. We recognize that fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly, but we don’t know what the inspection should cover. Can you help?

 

ANSWER

The Ontario OHS Industrial Establishments Regulation, which applies to offices, says that the requirements of the Fire Code apply to portable fire extinguishers. The Fire Code (Section 6.2.7.2.) just says that “portable extinguishers shall be inspected monthly” but doesn’t explain what must be inspected. But based on best practices and requirements from other jurisdictions, monthly portable fire extinguisher inspection should probably include:

  • Confirming that the extinguisher is visible, unobstructed, and in its designated location;
  • Verifying that the locking pin is intact and the tamper seal is unbroken;
  • Examining the extinguisher for obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or clogged nozzle;
  • Confirming the pressure gauge or indicator is in the operable range or position;
  • Lifting the extinguisher to ensure it’s full;
  • Ensuring the operating instructions on the nameplate are legible and facing outward;
  • Checking the last professional service date on the tag; and
  • Initialing and dating the back of the tag.

You also need to ensure that there’s always somebody in the facility who’s trained to use the fire extinguisher.