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FIR-8.03 - Fire Extinguisher Monthly "Self-Inspection" Maintenance Acceptance


Administrative Rule Adopted by Portland Fire & Rescue Pursuant to Rule-Making Authority




The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to specify the Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) interpretation and application of the referenced codes applicable to owner maintenance of portable fire extinguishers.


This policy applies to all commercial occupancies located where PF&R has authority for code enforcement. This program is limited to dry chemical extinguishers with a gauge. All other portable fire extinguishers (i.e. Halon, CO2, K-Class) shall be serviced annually and as specified in the fire code and NFPA Standard 10.


Owner "self-inspection" of portable fire extinguishers on a 30-day cycle, in lieu of annual servicing is allowed when conducted under a program approved by the local Fire Marshal. PF&R has an approved "self-inspection" program available, including brochures, tags, and direct instruction by the inspectors.



2000 Portland Uniform Fire Code (PUFC); PUFC Standard 10-1; NFPA 10, 1998 Edition; FMO EFP Procedures, 01-27-99, "Fire Extinguisher Code Review by Jim Everitt" (see Addendum, same title)


Quick-Check:  Routine, 30-day cycle inspection check by the owner. See: NFPA 10, 4-3.2 "Procedures"


Self-Inspection: Performance of 30-day cycle inspection of Fire Extinguishers by the owner or responsible person, in lieu of the annual servicing of same by an approved Fire Extinguisher Servicing Agency.


At the time of inspection of the occupancy the Inspector will evaluate the portable fire extinguishers and determine if they are current on the annual/six/and twelve year service checks. If the extinguishers are current, the inspector will offer the following options to the owner or responsible person contacted, and when appropriate provides the needed number of self-inspection tags to be applied to the extinguisher(s):

•  Participation in the 30-Day Cycle "Self-Inspection" in lieu of Annual Service. Should the owner or responsible person opt to perform the "Self-Inspection", the Inspector will afford them the appropriate training to perform such inspection.

•  If a self-inspection tag is already present on the extinguisher, but no notation of that 30-day "self-inspection" is present in the spaces provided on the tag FOR A PERIOD OF 3 MONTHS OR LONGER, the Inspector will require that an annual service be performed and shall NOT allow the "self- inspection" during the following 2-year cycle before the next inspection.


•  Continuing to provide the annual servicing of the fire extinguishers by an approved agency.



Addendum:  Fire Extinguisher Code Review


The 1997 Uniform Fire Code Volume 2 recognizes NFPA 10, 1990 EDITION.

In this edition inspection and maintenance do overlap. Inspection is defined as "A quick check" that an extinguisher is available and will operate. It is intended to give reasonable assurance that the extinguisher is fully charged and operable. This is done by seeing that it is in its designated place and there is no obvious physical damage or condition to prevent its operation. Maintenance is defined as a through examination of the extinguisher. It is intended to give maximum assurance that an extinguisher will operate effectively and safely. It includes a thorough examination and any necessary repair or replacement. 

Appendix A-4-4 Maintenance. Persons usually performing maintenance come from two major groups: Extinguisher service agencies, (No Oregon regulation, training, certification, or insurance requirements) or trained industrial safety or maintenance personnel (extinguisher owner)

This section goes on to say: "It is recommended that such owners become familiar with their extinguishers so they can detect telltale warnings from the inspection that may suggest the need for maintenance." When maintenance is indicated (Mechanical/Internal), trained persons having the proper equipment should perform it.

The problem now presented by these sections is there is not a definition of "trained persons" and no standards set. NFPA Representative Mark Conroy states in his letter that the acceptable training level is up to the authority having jurisdiction. The training issue is further clouded in Section 4-4.2 (Maintenance) Procedures Exception: During annual maintenance, it is "not necessary to internally examine stored pressure extinguishers".  Underwriters Laboratories listing UL 299 requires the inclusion of instructions with the extinguisher for inspection and maintenance procedures for which the owner is responsible.

To crystallize the education requirement, as to who may perform maintenance, Fed OSHA and Cal OSHA state if the extinguisher owner performs the monthly inspections this is equivalent to the annual maintenance requirement. This makes third party inspection (i.e. service industry) required only for the 6yr and 12yr breakdowns! If the following requirements are met with the addition of verifying the need for the 6 and 12-yr. maintenance, the owner can perform their own maintenance by performing the following monthly inspection:

1. Location in designated place.

2. No obstructions to access or visibility.

3. Operating instructions on nameplate legible and facing outward.

4. Seals and tamper indicators not broken or missing.

5. Determine fullness by weighing or "hefting".

6. Examine for obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or clogged nozzle.

7. Pressure gauge reading or indicator in the operable range or position.

8. Verify the need for the 6 and 12 yr. Maintenance (from the date of manufacture).

9. Keep a log of the date inspected and initials of the person performing.

The issue here is that when the inspector explains the above to the owner or person responsible for this monthly review, this person should physically demonstrate on the extinguisher to your satisfaction that they fully understand. This should not be taken lightly! 



Originally adopted by Fire Marshal as Fire Prevention Division Policy Manual Document H-3, effective March 16, 2004, and revised May 25, 2004.

Filed for inclusion in PPD by Chief of Portland Fire & Rescue June 7, 2007.