How Often Do Fire Extinguishers Need To Be Inspected? (An Honest Answer)

Did you know that faulty or malfunctioning fire extinguishers cause 25% of all fires?

That’s why it’s crucial to regularly inspect and maintain these life-saving devices.

But, do you know how often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected?

In this article, I will explore the recommended frequency of fire extinguisher inspections, the importance of professional maintenance, and the potential consequences of neglecting this critical safety measure.

By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge you need to keep your workplace or home safe from fire emergencies.

How often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected
fire extinguishers being inspected

How often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected? 

Fire extinguishers must be inspected regularly to ensure proper functioning and compliance with safety regulations. Specifically, a visual inspection should be conducted monthly, checking for any signs of damage, corrosion, or tampering.

Additionally, a more thorough inspection by a certified professional must be performed annually, examining the extinguisher’s overall condition, pressure, and other operational aspects. 

Furthermore, every 6 years, a complete internal examination and recharging of the extinguisher are required. Lastly, a hydrostatic test should be conducted every 12 years to assess the integrity of the extinguisher’s cylinder.

Adhering to these inspection schedules helps maintain the effectiveness of fire extinguishers and ensures the safety of your home or workplace.

How often does OSHA require fire extinguishers inspected?

OSHA requires fire extinguishers to be visually inspected at least once a month, ensuring they are in proper working condition and free from any damage or tampering.

However, OSHA does not have a specific requirement to document these monthly inspections. Furthermore, a certified professional should perform an annual maintenance check on portable fire extinguishers.

How often should a fire extinguisher be inspected NFPA 10?

According to NFPA 10, fire extinguishers should undergo a visual inspection at least once a month, ensuring they are in proper working condition and free from any damage or tampering.

Additionally, fire extinguishers must be subjected to maintenance at intervals of not more than one year, at the time of hydrostatic test, or when specifically indicated by an inspection.

How often should a fire extinguisher be inspected NFPA 10
How often should a fire extinguisher be inspected NFPA 10?

For specific types of extinguishers, such as dry chemical and stored pressure fire extinguishers, an internal examination should be conducted every 6 years. For more details on other types of fire extinguishers, refer to NFPA 10 Table

What is the OSHA rule for fire extinguishers?

OSHA has specific rules for fire extinguishers under standard 1910.157. According to this standard, employers must provide portable fire extinguishers, ensuring that they are mounted, located, and identified to be readily accessible to employees without subjecting them to possible injury.

Only approved portable fire extinguishers should be used to meet the requirements of this section. 

What is the OSHA rule for fire extinguishers
What is the OSHA rule for fire extinguishers?

Furthermore, OSHA requires fire extinguishers to be visually inspected at least once a month. Employers are also responsible for educating employees on the principles and practices of using a fire extinguisher and the hazards associated with fighting small or developing fires.

Monthly fire extinguisher inspection checklist

Regular inspections help identify any issues with fire extinguishers, ensuring they are in proper working condition and ready for use in an emergency.

Neglecting this critical task can lead to severe risks and hazards, including the inability to control a fire, resulting in potential injuries, fatalities, and property damage. Here is the checklist you should follow.

Equipment and Tools Required for Inspection

  • Fire extinguisher(s)
  • Inspection checklist
  • Flashlight
  • Pen or marker
  • Digital camera or smartphone (optional for documenting issues)

Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting the Inspection

Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting the Inspection
Step-by-Step Guide
  1. Locate the fire extinguisher(s): Ensure it is in its designated location and easily accessible.
  2. Check for visible damage: Inspect the fire extinguisher for any signs of physical damage, such as dents, rust, or leaks.
  3. Examine the pressure gauge: Ensure the pressure gauge is in the green zone, indicating the fire extinguisher is fully charged and operational.
  4. Inspect the hose and nozzle: Check the hose for any cracks or damage, and ensure the nozzle is free from blockages.
  5. Verify the last inspection date: Confirm the last inspection date is within the past month. If not, schedule a follow-up inspection.
  6. Check the manufacturing date: Ensure the fire extinguisher is within its service life, typically 10-12 years from the manufacturing date.
  7. Confirm the extinguisher is properly mounted: Ensure it is securely mounted on the wall or in its designated cabinet.
  8. Document the inspection: Record the inspection results on the checklist and sign or initial the appropriate section.

Common Issues and Solutions

  • Damaged fire extinguisher: If it is damaged or shows signs of wear, it should be replaced immediately.
  • Low pressure: If the pressure gauge is not in the green zone, schedule a professional recharge or replace the fire extinguisher.
  • Blocked nozzle: If the nozzle is blocked, attempt to clear the obstruction. If unsuccessful, schedule a professional service or replacement.
  • Expired service life: If the fire extinguisher is past its service life, replace it with a new unit.
  • Recommendations for Addressing Issues
  • Repair or replace: If any issues are identified during the inspection, promptly repair or replace the fire extinguisher.
  • Schedule follow-up inspections: If necessary, schedule additional inspections to ensure all fire extinguishers remain in proper working condition.
  • Train employees: Train employees on the proper use and maintenance of fire extinguishers and the importance of monthly inspections.

Key Takeaways and Reminders

  • Conduct monthly fire extinguisher inspections to ensure safety and compliance in the workplace.
  • Address any issues identified during the inspection promptly to minimize potential risks and hazards.
  • Regularly train employees on fire extinguisher use and maintenance to promote a safety-conscious work environment.

How often do fire extinguishers need to be replaced?

Fire extinguishers should generally be replaced every 10 years, even in pristine conditions. They may also need to be recharged after 6 years.

It is important to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific fire extinguisher, as replacement frequency may vary.


Regularly inspecting fire extinguishers is essential to guarantee their effectiveness and dependability during emergencies.

This article has highlighted the importance of conducting monthly visual inspections, annual professional maintenance checks, and hydrostatic testing every 5 to 12 years, depending on the type of extinguisher. 

By adhering to these recommended inspection intervals, individuals and organizations can significantly mitigate the risk of fire-related incidents and ensure people’s and property’s safety.

Ultimately, maintaining a well-inspected fire extinguisher is not only a legal obligation but also a crucial responsibility that we all must uphold to create a safer environment for everyone.

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