Annual Fire Extinguisher Service – What Actually Happens?

Annual Fire Extinguisher Service
You would expect an annual fire extinguisher inspection to be the same no matter which fire protection company does it.
After being in the industry for 17+ years, our lead technician, Jeff Narraway has seen the good and the bad when it comes to annual fire extinguisher service.
Today, we’ll show you everything that goes into the inspection, a video of Jeff going through an example annual inspection, as well as details about each step.

Here all the steps involved with an annual fire extinguisher inspection:

  1. Look for Damage to Extinguisher
  2. Investigate the Gauge
  3. Make Sure the Pull Pin Works
  4. Reseal the Pull Pin
  5. Look for Issues with the Hose
  6. Check for Powder in the Head
  7. Make Sure Threads Aren’t Stripped
  8. Check for the Date (6 Year and 12 Year)
  9. Invert the Extinguisher
  10. Remove Last Year’s Inspection Tag
  11. One Last Visual Inspection
  12. Clean With a Rag!



  1. Look for Damage to Extinguisher

This first step to certify an extinguisher for the next year is to make sure there is no damage to the exterior. You want to thoroughly check it and make sure the instructions and serial number are on it.

  1. Investigate the Gauge

You want to make sure the gauge is in the green. If the indicator is off to the left, that means a recharge is needed. Factors that could lead to a recharge are:

  • The extinguisher has been leaking
  • It could be a factory defect

If the indicator is off to the right, that states the extinguisher has been overcharged.

  1. Make Sure the Pull Pin Works

Take off the tamper seal and make sure the pull pin has easy and clear access ‘back and forth’ through the place holder. Sometimes the extinguisher falls or people knock them off, which can bend the pin.

  1. Reseal the Pull Pin

Once you are sure the pull pin is straight, insert the pin back into its proper place and reseal it.

  1. Look for Issues with the Hose

Hoses that are outside are exposed to bugs which can clog the hose. Insects like mud wasps can create nests inside of the hose.
The easiest way to clean a fire extinguisher hose is with a metal coat hanger.
To make sure the hose is clear, start by blowing air though it. Then, with your finger, see if you can feel the air come through on the opposite side you blew into.

  1. Check for Powder in the Head

Before you insert the hose back on, make sure there is no powder left inside of the head. If powder is visible, it could mean the extinguisher has been discharged before.

  1. Make Sure Threads Aren’t Stripped

Make sure the hose easily goes back into place. If not, the threads may be stripped and needing replacement.

  1. Check for the Date (6 Year and 12 Year)

This shows when a fire protection company will have to do extensive maintenance on the extinguisher.  A 6 and 12 year inspection will need to be done.
Two easy ways to tell that a 6 year inspection has been done:

  • There is a collar on the extinguisher
  • There is a label, initialed by a service technician, saying that it has been complete.

The 12 year test will be done in 2022 (for a extinguisher made in 2010) and this is when the hydrostatic test will need to be performed.

  1. Invert the Extinguisher

To avoid the powder from caking (as the result of sitting too long) you need to invert the extinguisher and strike it with a mallet or tap it on the ground.
Powder that has caked will not come out!

  1. Remove Last Year’s Inspection Tag

Insert your new tag, make sure it is punched for the correct date/year, and wrap the tag around the gauge.

  1. One Last Visual Inspection

Take one last look to make sure everything is in operating order and that there is no corrosion.

  1. Clean with a Rag!

Very, very important! Clean the fire extinguisher with a rag to make sure the extinguisher is clearly visible and all the labels are visible.


The main idea is to get you aware of everything that goes into an annual fire extinguisher inspection. You can see why every step is important to keep the extinguisher in working order.
The three main steps that I think some fire protection companies miss are:

  • Making sure the pin is completely straight
  • Removing the hose and check for clearance
  • Make sure the head is clear, indicating no prior use

Hopefully today you can see how thorough an inspection is. Hopefully you never have to use a fire extinguisher, but if you do, it would be devastating if it doesn’t work properly.