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A fire extinguisher, is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations. It is not intended for use on an out-of-control fire. Typically, a fire extinguisher consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire.

User Inspection by The User:

It is recommended that regular inspection of all extinguishers, spare gas cartridges and replacement charges should be carried out by the user or the user's representative. This is to make sure that the appliances are in their proper position and have not been discharged, lost pressure (in the case of extinguishers fitted with a pressure indicator) or suffered obvious damage. The frequency of the inspection should not be less than quarterly, but preferably monthly. Any extinguisher not available for use should be replaced.

Annual Inspection, Service and Maintenance by a Competent Person:

Fire extinguishers should be regularly serviced to ensure they remain in good working order and function correctly should they be needed.

It is the responsibility of a business owner or responsible person for a building to ensure that extinguishers are serviced in accordance to the BS 5306-3:2009.

The user should ensure that extinguishers, gas cartridges and replacement charges are inspected, serviced and maintained as recommended in current British Standard. These procedures should be carried out by a competent person capable of conducting them according to the recommendations of this code and any special procedures recommended by the manufacture using the recommended tools, equipment and materials at least annually.

Self-maintenance extinguishers should be visually inspected in accordance with the manufacturer's instruction and the results recorded.

Intervals of Discharge:

The recommended times, in each case since the date of manufacturer or the last actual date of discharge (test or otherwise) of the particular extinguisher body (see note below) are as follow:

Extinguishers Type Intervals of Discharge
Water Every 5 Years
Foam (all Types) Every 5 Years
Powder (Gas Cartridge) Every 5 Years
Powder (Stored Pressure - Valve Operated) Every 5 Years
Powder (Stored Pressure - Primary Sealed) Every 10 years and subsequently after a further 10 years and thereafter at intervals not exceeding 5 years
Carbon Dioxide (all Types)
Self-maintenance extinguishers with 10 year warranty Replace the extinguisher after 10 years 


Note:  The replacement of parts does not affect these intervals. For example, if the hose on a Carbon Dioxide extinguisher has been replaced after the extinguisher has been in service for 6 years (from new) then the discharge test should be after a further 4 years.