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The Three Keys of Fire Extinguisher Safety

Fire extinguishers are extraordinarily safe devices and their presence instills a sense of security. But fire extinguishers aren’t always capable of stopping fires, and fire extinguisher service plays a major role in ensuring the safety of your building or office.

Regular fire extinguisher service is just as important as having a fire extinguisher in the first place. Is your fire extinguisher more than 10 years old, or does it lack pictograms/visual instructions? If so, you’ll definitely need a replacement from Weber. Older fire extinguishers may not be certified or built to modern safety standards, and a lack of visual instruction could make the difference between life and death when a fire is blazing. We’ll return to safe usage later, but the key point is that an extinguisher is too old is just as bad, if not worse, than owning one in the first place. Always check the date on your fire extinguisher to ensure that it is not too old to use safely, but there is another important metric to take note of—the pressure gauge.

If you haven’t had your fire extinguishers regularly serviced by your local fire department, Weber, or another company, your extinguisher’s pressure gauge may tell you of a hidden danger: lack of pressure. When fire extinguishers are manufactured or serviced, their contents are inserted into the body. The extinguishing agent comes first, typically chemical foam or powder that stifles combustion when exposed to heat. Unless your fire extinguisher has been used to put out a fire or is very old, it is likely that this portion will work as well as the day it was installed. Next comes the compressed air, which is forcibly pumped into the fire extinguisher to create a pressure differential of about 13 bar. It is this air, typically carbon dioxide gas, which can slowly leak out of a number of years, depressurizing the extinguisher. You’ll know this has happened by checking the pressure gauge and noting the needle’s position. If the needle indicates “green,” the pressure inside the extinguisher is sufficient to force out the powder or foam, extinguishing the fire. If the needle points to “red,” however, the pressure inside the extinguisher is insufficient, and it could fail you in your time of need. Even if the fire extinguisher is able to dispense foam or powder when you test it, if the gauge points to red, call Weber for servicing immediately.

In addition to having a new extinguisher with a good pressure rating, your extinguisher should also be rated for A, B, and C type fires. Type A fires refer to everyday materials, specifically anything that burns to ash. Type B fires are those involving combustible liquids and fuels, such as oil, gasoline, kerosene, or diesel. Type C fires refer to electrically energized machinery, such as running motors, engines, live wires and sockets, or electronics. Having a fire extinguisher specifically rated for types A, B, and C ensures you have an answer to nearly any type of blaze and can keep your family, friends, colleagues, and employees safe.