Has the summer heat got you down? You’re bored, in doors, eating your way through the summer. You need excitement, intrigue. But that costs money…So you’re watching some Netflix or perhaps getting really into cleaning the house. These things are already paid for, so they’re great. But then…you spot your fire extinguisher. Maybe that can provide you with some fun. No, not spraying out the extinguishing agent. That will be short-lived and costly. It’s time you, went on date with your portable fire extinguisher. NO! Not a romantic date, just a coffee date. Fill up your mug and get to know that extinguisher. It will save you money, time, and possibly your life. Let’s get started.

Most people will start with the formalities. What’s your name? What’s your sign? How do you take your coffee? But your fire extinguisher needs you to know the lingo. Since she’s the strong and silent type, I’ll give you the scoop. You want the brand, class, size (yes it matters in extinguishers), extinguishing agent, and rating. Is she a ten? If you’re feeling frisky, all you need to do is turn to the UL label or Universal Listing label on the extinguisher. If you can’t find one, this is extinguisher is not for you. Per National Fire Protection Association Manual 10, you’ll need an extinguisher that is universally listed.

Universal Listing Label Information

Brand: Amerex

Classification: A:B:C fires

Size: 5 lb.

Extinguishing Agent: Multi-Purpose Dry Chemical

Rating: 2-A: 10-B:C

Age: 2009 (13 years old)

Give the photo a look-see, so that you can tell where and how the information is given. So, what does it mean? How can this information save you time, money, and lives? If you ever need to call your local, licensed fire extinguisher company they will ask you for this information. You will receive a more accurate quote for service. Whether you bring your home extinguisher to a walk-in location or you have your business extinguisher annually serviced. If you can read it, you’ll know if you have the right type of extinguisher to match your level of fire protection needs.

For example, businesses need at least one 2-A:10-B:C portable fire extinguisher per 13,000 square feet. There are some more regulations based on size and hazards of the business. But for most people, reading the label and seeing it is a 2-A:10-B:C lets them know they have the right type of fire extinguisher per NFPA 10 standards. You can also tell what types of service this extinguisher might need…but we will talk about that when we reach the service sticker.

The extinguishing agent in this fire extinguisher is a dry chemical. This means that when you put out the fire it will leave a dry chemical residue. This is also known as a mess. Now that you’ve gotten to know your fire extinguisher a bit more. It’s time to get more personal. Turn to the instruction label on the front to find out how she operates.

Instruction Label

Perhaps the most important label on a fire extinguisher. It’s important to get to know your fire extinguisher before getting handsy.

The pictures will explain some of the technical terms of the fire extinguisher. They are also helpful to use in an emergency.

The captions/instructions are short, sweet, and to the point. They help people stay focused.

The PASS strategy is pulling the pin, aim the hose, squeeze the level, make a sweeping motion at the base of the fire.

If you read these in advance of having to use your fire extinguisher, you are more likely to succeed in extinguishing a fire. This will save your life, save you the cost of replacing things burnt by the fire, and in turn save you time. Time is of the essence when using a fire extinguisher. They are designed to put out small, incipient fires. If you wait too long, it will be time to abandon that extinguisher and run like the Russians are coming! I mean, like your building is on fire. But, the best way to save time and money is to know all of the above information while you are calling your locally licensed, fire equipment dealer.

Service Tag/Label Information

This label tells you a licensed, fire equipment company has previously serviced your fire extinguisher. This label is blank, but yours will have more information. Unless…there is no service label. If you have a home fire extinguisher – this is okay. The law requires that all businesses have certified fire extinguishers. So, if there is no label and you are having a business lunch with your fire extinguisher, she’ll need some upgrades.

This is an easy way to read the label:

What date did your extinguisher last receive service? Check the month and year. It will need service again next year – at the minimum. There is a portion of the sticker dedicated to telling you when the extinguisher next needs service.

What type of extinguisher do you have? If it says ABC, you are covered in the event of most fires and your extinguisher is the correct type for most businesses without additional hazards. These are multi-purpose extinguishers.

Who serviced your extinguisher? They are liable for it to properly work, as long as you have met the maintenance requirements. They are also the easiest company to use for additional service as they have a record of your equipment. However, if you are unsure, look them up online for service ratings and pricing. You are not required to use the same company to service your extinguisher.

Was the extinguisher serviced while new? Did it have maintenance performed? Or, was it recharged? This will impact the price and determine your services for the next time the fire extinguisher sees the local company. A new extinguisher will need less services. As extinguishers age, they may need recharged (every 6 years for most ABC extinguishers) or hydrostatically tested (12 years most ABC extinguishers). They guidelines vary by make, model, and type of extinguishing agent. However, you will need to know when calling for service.

By now, you know if she’s a keeper or not. If you’re satisfied with your extinguisher, excellent. Treat her right and remount her on the wall. If you’re concerned, save the time and money discussed previously by calling your locally licensed fire extinguisher equipment company and haver upgrade for your next date. Thanks again, and seriously, dating your fire extinguisher is just a metaphor. Do not attempt to use your portable fire extinguisher for anything besides its intended purpose. It’s the law!