How Often Should Fire Extinguishers be Inspected?

Fire extinguishers are one of the most fundamental elements of your organisation’s fire safety policy, keeping people and property safe. In order to ensure your fire extinguishers are in good condition and won’t let you down in the event of a fire, it’s vital that they are properly inspected on a regular basis. 

Not only will a fire extinguisher inspection ensure you, your premises and anyone within it are protected in the unfortunate event a fire occurs, but it will also ensure you meet your legal requirements. 

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that there should be at least two working Class A fire extinguishers on each floor of a building. Or, if the premises are particularly small, a single Class A extinguisher will be acceptable. To ensure you conform with this legislation, all fire extinguishers on the premises must be fully functional and ready to be used to extinguish a fire.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how often a fire extinguisher inspection should take place so that you can ensure you keep your organisation safe.    

fire extinguisher

The different types of fire extinguishers 

Before we delve into the details regarding fire extinguisher inspections, it’s important to understand the types of extinguishers you have on your premises. Every fire is different and will require a different fire extinguisher type in order to effectively combat it. It’s important that your organisation has the most suitable fire extinguisher in place depending on the various risk factors your operations present. 

The type of fire extinguishers available includes:

  • Water extinguishers suitable for Class A fires which involve combustible materials such as wood, paper, cardboard, textiles and more. These extinguishers are marked with a red label. 
  • Foam extinguishersfire extinguishers that use foam can also be used on Class A fires, as well as Class B fires that are caused by flammable liquids like petrol, oil, alcohol, fats and more. These extinguishers are marked with a cream label.
  • CO2 extinguishersthese extinguishers are specifically designed to deal with Class B Fires. In addition to this, they’re one of just two types that can extinguish electrical fires. This kind of fire is caused by electrical appliances such as computers, heaters, fuse boxes, servers and any electrical item. Water must never be applied to this type of blaze due to the risk of electrocution. These extinguishers are marked with a black label.
  • Dry powder extinguishers – the most versatile type of fire extinguisher, this unit can handle Class A, B, C (flammable gas fires) and electrical fires. These extinguishers are marked with a blue label.        
  • Wet chemical extinguishersthese extinguishers are suitable for Class F fires that are fires caused by cooking oils or fats. Perfect for commercial kitchens, these extinguishers are marked with a yellow label.        

The team at Millennium Fire Protection can supply, install and maintain all of the above applications to suit your requirements.  

How often should there be a fire extinguisher inspection?

As previously mentioned, as a business owner or person in charge of a commercial or industrial setting it is your responsibility to ensure your fire extinguishers are working as they should be.   

To do this, you need to routinely inspect all fire safety equipment, including extinguishers, to ensure they’ll perform adequately in the event of a fire. 

Regular monthly inspections

On a monthly basis, a responsible person within your organisation should be tasked with visually inspecting all fire extinguisher units. These checks are quick and easy, but it’s vital that they are conducted regularly, with any issues noted. Fire extinguisher labels should also be updated at this stage.

Basic annual service  

Once a year, a basic service must be conducted in accordance with BS 5036-3 regulations. You cannot do this yourself, and must call upon the services of a professional fire safety organisation to do so. Typically, this service will involve a technician testing the safety pin and pressure gauges, and changing O rings in the valve, hose and horn if necessary. 

If any major faults are noted, the technician will recommend replacing units. 

Extended service 

An extended service will generally be required every five years. Just like with a basic annual service, an extended annual service will require the assistance of a professional fire safety technician. As well as the tests that take place during a basic service, an extended service will take a more in-depth look at your units. 

This includes discharging your extinguisher, checking valves, inspecting interiors, checking for leaks and refilling units. 

For CO2 fire extinguishers, this extended service takes place every 10 years – this is due to the fact that this type of unit is considered high-pressure vessels and as such follow different regulations. This service is called an overhaul and it will be checked for any bulging, cracking or stretching. Evidence of any of these can be dangerous and the unit will be sent to an accredited end-of-life service if so.  

The fire extinguisher inspection checklist 

As part of your monthly checks, there are a number of things you must examine to ensure your fire extinguisher is in good working order. 

We’ve provided the following handy fire extinguisher inspection checklist to help you conduct this inspection as efficiently as possible.

  • Check the unit is visible, unobstructed and in the location it’s meant to be.
  • Make sure the locking pin is intact and the tamper seal is not broken. 
  • Check the unit for obvious damage such as corrosion, leakage or a clogged nozzle.
  • Confirm the pressure gauge or indicator is in the correct position and lift up the fire extinguisher to ensure it is full.
  • Make sure operating instructions are legible and facing outwards.
  • Check the fire extinguisher inspection labels and ensure the most recent basic service was not more than 12 months ago. If the period has exceeded 12 months, arrange a basic service inspection immediately.
  • Initial and date the label to confirm the monthly inspection has been completed. 


At Millennium Fire Protection, we provide a wide-reaching range of fire safety services to customers in Harrow, Ealing, Watford and across the surrounding areas. From supplying, installing and maintaining all types of fire extinguishers to providing a whole host of other fire safety products and services, get in touch with our team today to see how we can keep you protected.