Maintaining a Fire Extinguisher

Today I did some regular maintenance in the fire safety department of our homestead.  I needed to make sure our fire extinguisher was in good shape.

So I marched off to the corner of our home where it is safely stashed and did a quick check and some regular maintenance. Our fire extinguisher is a very important part of our homestead since we live so far away from any fire department. In the event of a fire, I need to be ready at a moments notice!

Here are a few things I usually check:

  1. Make sure it's easily accessible. It goes without saying that a fire extinguisher that you can't easily get to, is worthless to you in an emergency. So it's a great idea to be sure that things haven't been stacked in its way. If so, be sure that you clear an easy path!
  2. Be sure that the pressure in your extinguisher is at the right level. If there is a guage make sure its in the 'green' or safe zone. If it is high or low be sure to take it in to have it maintained.
  3. Check that the nozzle and handles are not hindered in any way.
  4. Do a quick visual inspection to see that the pin and tamper seal (if it has one) are intact.
  5. Look around the extinguisher for signs of leaks, dents, rust, chemical deposits or other signs of wear.
  6. Use a rubber mallet to firmly tap the bottom of it several times. Over time, the ABC powder inside an extinguisher can compact at the bottom. When it does that it leaves it virtually useless when an emergency strikes. So you'll want to do this every several months to loosen up the powder.

Why take the chance?

Doing this quick maintenance check makes sure we have the tools we need in the unlikely event of an emergency fire. It would be simply awful to have a fire start in the house and end up with a useless tool! Have you checked your fire extinguisher recently?

Nick Meissner

Nick Meissner’s adventure with homesteading and off grid living began in the late '90s with a less-than-bare-bones budget. Over the past 12 years, Nick has taught thousands of people about renewable energy, homesteading, water systems, and independence in general. He's deeply in love with his beautiful wife Lisa and is thoroughly enjoys their two children.

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