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    Extinguishers: 17 Ways to Turn Code Violations into Revenue

    By Mark Conroy

    NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, requires annual maintenance of extinguishers. For the most common stored pressure dry chemical extinguishers, which are not internally examined annually, a skilled technician should examine the following items to increase safety as well as their revenue:

    1. Examine the extinguisher for damage including dents, abrasions, and signs of corrosion.
      Action: Replace the extinguisher if it is damaged.

    2. Examine the pressure gauge.
      Action: Replace the pressure gauge if the extinguisher is a leaker, or the gauge is damagedor does not match the extinguisher.*

    3. Confirm that the nozzle or hose assembly are properly matched to the extinguisher.
      Action: Replace the nozzle or hose assembly if it does not match the extinguisher.

    4. Examine nozzle or hose assembly.
      Action: Replace nozzle or hose assembly if it is damaged, cracked, or obstructed.

    5. After hose removal, examine valve port surfaces..
      Action: Replace the valve if the valve ports show signs of corrosion.*

    6. Examine the hose retention band.
      Action: Replace the hose retention band if it is damaged, or the hose cannot be secured properly.

    7. Examine the hanger, bracket, or cabinet.
      Action: Replace them if they are damaged or do not match the extinguisher, or remount them if they are not properly mounted.

    8. Examine extinguisher cabinets for means of emergency access.
      Action: Replace damaged break-front panels and missing breaker bars or strikers.

    9. Examine the operating instructions.
      Action: Add new operating instructions if the originals are faded or not legible.

    10. Confirm that the extinguisher was not made prior to 1984.
      Action: Replace the obsolete extinguisher.

    11. Check the extinguisher records for 6-year teardown and hydrostatic test..
      Action: Perform 6-year teardown or hydrostatic test if either is due.*

    12. Remove the pull pin.
      Action: Replace pin if damaged and always install a new tamper seal.

    13. Examine the handle, lever, and rivets.
      Action: Replace the handle, lever, and rivets if necessary.

    14. Examine the valve stem to make sure it is extended and not damaged.
      Action: Examine the valve stem to make sure it is extended and not damaged.

    15. Weigh the extinguisher.
      Action: Recharge if underweight.*

    16. Examine extinguisher location for visual obstructions.
      Action: Replace extinguisher signs that can't be seen and add signs as needed.

    17. Remove the extinguisher tag.
      Action: Replace the outdated tag with a new one and record maintenance.

    Remember, NFPA 10 mandates extinguisher maintenance be performed annually (Chapter 7) and there’s a checklist of 23 items in the annex of NFPA 10 that need to be performed. When you do your job right and replace problematic parts and extinguishers, you will help ensure safety by making sure extinguishers are in proper working order in case of a fire emergency.

    *Replace with a loaner extinguisher and bring the customer's extinguisher back to the shop for repair if not performed on site.

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