Bob Vila Radio: Fire Extinguisher Inspection

Check your fire extinguishers at least twice a year to ensure proper functioning in case you ever need them. Here's how to evaluate its condition.

You know you should test your smoke alarm twice a year, but what about your fire extinguisher? If yours is at the back of the closet where you stashed it ten years ago, chances are it won’t be much help in a fire. Here’s how to check your fire extinguisher to make sure it’s ready if you ever need it.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON FIRE EXTINGUISHER INSPECTION or read the text below:

Fire Extinguisher Inspection

Photo: nbclosangeles.com

The first thing to check is the pressure gauge, which will tell you if your fire extinguisher is overcharged, undercharged, or just right. If it’s not properly charged, contact your local firehouse first to see if they can help. If they can’t, they can at least point you in the right direction.

Check the fire extinguisher for dents, rust, or other signs of damage. If you see any, it’s time to dispose of it, because a crack in a pressurized fire extinguisher can cause it to explode.

Make sure the tamper seal and the pin are in place. If your extinguisher has an inspection tag, check to see when it was last professionally inspected, if ever.

It’s a very good idea to stick to the recommended schedule for professional maintenance. If you have any doubts, contact a local fire safety company for guidance.

Finally, don’t put your extinguisher back in that closet—for it to be useful, you need to be able to get to it quickly.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.