Can You Use a Fire Extinguisher More Than Once?

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It’s something that you hope you’ll never have to use. But, in the event that a fire does break out, fire extinguishers are a necessary tool in the fight against a blaze.

Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of fire safety equipment, a fire extinguisher will help prevent the spread of fire by putting it out before it becomes out of control. 

After using a fire extinguisher, sometimes it will not have been completely emptied. In these situations, people often wonder whether the fire extinguisher can be reused on another, or multiple, occasions. 

In this article, the team here at KW Fire Protection has put together a handy guide that will outline how often you can use a fire extinguisher and enhance your organisation’s commercial fire safety.         

How long do fire extinguishers last?

Before we explore whether a fire extinguisher can be used more than once, let’s take a look at the general lifespan of the equipment. 

Every fire extinguisher is different, and will have slightly different lifespans depending on a number of factors including the manufacturer and type of extinguisher it is. Typically, you can expect a fire extinguisher to last anywhere between 10-12 years, and disposable (non-refillable) options should be replaced every 10 years. 

It’s important to regularly check your fire extinguisher’s expiration date, as this is where you’ll discover how long your specific unit is expected to last.  

Irrespective of the expiration date on a fire extinguisher, if you notice any of the following problems you should replace the units immediately. 

This includes:

  • The hose is ripped or torn
  • The nozzle is cracked or damaged 
  • The metal locking pin is missing
  • The handle is wobbly or broken 
  • The inspection tag is missing 

Can you use a fire extinguisher more than once?

Again, whether or not a fire extinguisher can be used more than once depends on a number of factors. First and foremost, it has to be a refillable device. Any disposable extinguishers cannot be reused. 

Whether or not an extinguisher can be reused will also depend on the type, size and model of the particular extinguisher. Usually, the canister will have this information on it and will inform you whether it’s able to be used again.

To use a fire extinguisher, the pin has to be pulled in order to release the extinguishing agent inside. The pulling of the pin will cause the canister to lose pressure, meaning that it needs to be correctly re-pinned and refilled. Using the extinguisher again without this proper procedure is not appropriate, as it means the extinguisher may not work correctly in the future. This means you’re putting yourself and others at risk in the event of a fire. Therefore, it’s integral for fire safety that, for units where it’s applicable, extinguishers are refilled after every use – even when not empty.

They can be refilled multiple times up until their expiration date. 

How to maintain fire extinguishers 

You should never attempt to refill a fire extinguisher yourself and always seek professional help to ensure that it’s done correctly. If a professional fire safety firm does not conduct the refill, you’ll no longer be covered by British Standards – meaning if a fire does break out and the extinguisher fails to work, you could find yourself liable.

On at least a weekly basis someone within your organisation should conduct a quick inspection to check there is no visible damage on your extinguisher, and make sure it hasn’t passed the expiry date. BS 5306-3 regulations also recommend that a professional fire safety company oversee a service at least once a year.


Here at KW Fire Protection, we provide customers with a whole host of workplace fire prevention services. This includes supplying a range of fire extinguishers and providing a range of fire maintenance services including refilling. Supporting clients in Manchester, Bolton, Oldham and beyond, get in touch with our team today.    


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