How to read Fire extinguisher sign

To ensure that your fire extinguisher is working properly, it is important to learn how to read fire extinguisher signs. These tags not only tell you the fire type the extinguisher can be used on but will also give you an idea of its chemical contents, frequency of discharge and when it was last filled. Newer fire extinguishers designed for home use now come with gauges that show its content and extent of use. Refilled commercial fire extinguishers are usually tagged with its date and other details.

With your extinguisher ready, keep in mind of some important considerations to understand fire extinguisher signs:

    • Fire extinguisher location.

Office buildings and other business establishments are required to provide fire extinguishers and should be found where they can be easily seen. These can be found by doorways, exits and other areas where the possibility of a fire can occur.

    • Status tag.

Some fire extinguishers come with only a single tag that shows relevant information. Others have what is known as a cylinder tag, which is a status tag usually colored yellow. This tag has three terms namely, full, in-service or empty.

When reading a cylinder tag, start from its bottom and then up. The current status is the last term of the tag’s bottom and not the top. The bottom is then torn off after completion of each phase. The next term then becomes the active status.

    • Expiration tag.

Tags in most fire extinguishers only show the month and year that it was last inspected. There are some extinguishers, though, that have more detailed inspection information as well as the recharge record.

Remember that if a tag inspection date is more than 5 years, then it already needs to be recharged. Otherwise, your fire extinguisher should be disposed properly if it is non-refillable.

Fire extinguishers, whether for commercial or home use, should have a label specifying its class. Class types include A, B, C, D or ABC. These classifications determine what type of fire you can use the extinguisher on. Using the wrong class of fire extinguisher on a certain type of fire can be dangerous to you or worsen the fire.

Class A fire extinguisher should only be used on organic fires such as paper, cardboard, clothing, wood etc. Class B should be used only on fires caused by flammable substances while a class C extinguisher is designed for electrical fires. Class D is only for fires caused by chemicals and metal combustion. Class ABC can be used on a combination of fire types except chemical fire.

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