What Are the Inspection Requirements for Fire Extinguishers?

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What Are the Inspection Requirements for Fire Extinguishers?

When it comes to commercial fire safety, a wide range of regulations and legislation must be followed. 

One of the most fundamental aspects of fire safety within a business or commercial organisation is the fire safety equipment that is used to protect people if a fire does occur. Typically, this takes the form of fire extinguishers. 

According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it’s the legal responsibility of the owner of the premises to provide ‘appropriate fire fighting equipment, including portable fire extinguishers’. In order to be defined as ‘appropriate’, fire extinguishers must be in good working order and work effectively to tackle a fire should one occur. 

With this in mind, fire extinguisher inspections are essential. In this article, the team here at KW Fire Protection will discuss your fire extinguisher requirements, providing you with all the information you need to meet your legal duties and keep everyone safe on your property.      

How often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected?

A ‘Responsible Person’ in your organisation should carry out monthly inspections to ensure fire extinguishers are in a good condition and ready to be used if needed. These inspections should include:

  • Check the hose and nozzle are not cracked, blocked or torn
  • Ensure locking pins, seals and tamper indicators are not broken or missing
  • Make sure the handle is not broken or wobbly 
  • Ensure service labels are visible and legible – any missing labels should be replaced immediately 
  • Check extinguishers are visible, unobstructed and have legible operating instructions that are visible 
  • Ensure the pressure dial is pointing to green
  • Check the extinguisher feels full
  • Make sure there is no damage whatsoever to the unit 

As well as a monthly inspection by someone within your company, it’s also necessary to have your fire extinguisher units serviced by a professional on an annual basis. This service will include a full maintenance check and a thorough examination of your fire extinguishers. If any repairs or replacements are required, you will be informed by the engineer. Always use a BAFE-accredited company to carry out these services. This way you can rest assured that you’ll receive the very best service. 

Remember, it’s a legal requirement to make a record of all fire extinguisher inspections, servicing and maintenance.    

How long can you keep a fire extinguisher?

In addition to how frequently you should inspect your fire extinguishers, it’s also important to understand how long a fire extinguisher lasts. The lifespan of an extinguisher varies depending on a number of factors, including its type and condition. 

As a general rule, however, guidelines recommend that fire extinguishers be replaced every five years, or at the very least given an extended service. CO2 fire extinguishers can last a little longer, around 10 years, although this is only the case if they’re in good working order and no faults have developed.

No fire extinguisher should ever be more than 20 years old.     

How many fire extinguishers do you legally need?

The number of fire extinguishers your organisation requires depends on its size. Every property is different in size and requirements, but as a rule of thumb, there needs to be a minimum of two Class A extinguishers on every floor of the property. 

If your premises are exceptionally small, you may only need one per floor. Every property that has electrical equipment on site (which is almost every building in 2022) also needs to have 2kg CO2 fire extinguishers present in the property. If the electrical equipment is 415-volt rated, it should be 5kg.   

The number of fire extinguishers will also depend on whether your property is considered at low or high risk of fire. If you’re unsure exactly how many fire extinguishers you need to comply with your legal responsibilities, get in touch with a professional commercial fire safety company. 


Here at KW Fire, we’ve spent more than two decades providing leading fire safety solutions to clients throughout Manchester, Oldham, Bolton and beyond. This includes the supply and maintenance of all types of fire extinguishers. If you require fire extinguisher installation or inspections and servicing, get in touch with our team today.      

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