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Maintenance of Fire Extinguishers
Extinguishers require routine care. Read your operator's manual and
check the condition of the extinguisher every month. Shake your dry
chemical extinguisher to get the powder evenly dispersed since the
powder has a tendency to cake. Have the extinguisher serviced once
a year by a fire extinguisher company, which you can find in the
yellow pages under "Fire Extinguishers."
Reusable models must be recharged after every use. Sometimes the
powder will lodge in the valve assembly after one use and the pressure
will bleed off even though your pressure gauge shows pressure is remaining.
A partially discharged unit might as well be empty.
Disposable fire extinguishers can be used only once. They must be
replaced after one use. Disposable extinguishers usually do not have a
pressure gauge and rely on a button to let you know if pressure is still
good. The label will tell you if the extinguisher is rechargeable.
Each extinguisher should be installed in plain view near an escape
route and away from potential fire hazards such as kitchen stoves, wood
stoves, and heaters where you can reach it if there's a fire.
Many Fire Departments offer training and practice in the use of portable
fire extinguishers. Phone or email your local
Fire Department office to ask about training.