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    Portable Extinguisher Cabinets: The Importance of Replacing Missing Covers and Panels

    By Mark Conroy


    Portable fire extinguisher cabinets are installed for many reasons, including preventing malicious use. Where cabinets are locked, they need to be provided with a means for emergency access. That typically means providing a cabinet that has a pull-front cover or a break-front panel with striker. As an extinguisher technician, your job is to maintain the original intent of the cabinet while assuring the extinguisher is easily accessible during an emergency. Knowing where the requirements are located in the code is essential to convince the property owner that the installation is code compliant. Here’s what you need to know to ensure cabinets are secure and protecting their contents.


    NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, allows fire extinguisher cabinets to be locked:
    6.1.3.10.1 Cabinets housing fire extinguishers shall not be locked, except where fire extinguishers are subject to malicious use and cabinets include a means of emergency access.

    Cabinets designed to be locked, while providing easy access to the extinguishers, come with pull-front covers or break-front panels. Cabinets should never be left without their covers or panels (that would defeat their intended purpose of guarding against malicious use). Ensuring that their covers and panels are in place, during monthly inspections and annual maintenance, also ensures the extinguishers remain protected against misuse, accidental removal, or impacts.

    Cabinets complying with this requirement include Brooks’ Mark Series, and FireTech™ molded polymer cabinets, as well as FireTech™, Classic, Economyline, and Decorline metal cabinets. All of these cabinets are designed for compliance with NFPA 10 and can be locked but have a means of emergency access. If the cover or panel is missing, the extinguisher cannot be locked and secured and is subject to malicious use.

    During an inspection or annual maintenance, these extinguisher cabinets need to be examined to ensure the covers and panels are provided and installed correctly. If the cabinet has a break-front panel, there must also be a striker bar or striker hammer, which allows emergency access to the extinguisher. Missing strikers must be replaced to allow for emergency access.


    Replacement Covers

    Clear Covers Red Covers Fit Cabinets
    M1C6 M1CR6 M1
    MJC6 MJCR6 MJ
    M2C6 M2CR6 M2
    M2JC6 M2JCR6 M2J


    Break-Front Panels (clear and scored)

    Break Panels Fits the Following Cabinets
    SAC818 BE916, FT916, 818 Series
    SAC924 BE926, FT926, 924 Series
    SAC1028 BE936, FT936, 1028 Series
    FT55 FT5PR, FT5PW
    FT10 FT10PR, FT10PW
    FT20 FT20PR, FT20PW


    Break-Front Strikers

    Strikers Style
    BR13 Bar
    BGH6 Hammer
    FT100R Red Hammer
    FT100W White Hammer


    Extinguisher cabinets need to be maintained in their original condition, with their covers or panels installed, to prevent unwanted removal or dislodgment of the extinguisher from the cabinet. Installing quality, matching replacement parts will help prevent malicious use of extinguishers while ensuring they remain readily available in the event of a fire emergency.


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    Mark Conroy is an engineer in our Boston, MA office and a member of the NFPA 10 Technical Committee. © 2017, Brooks Equipment Company, LLC.

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above Tech Series article are the author’s only and provide limited information. Although the information is believed to be reliable, Brooks Equipment Company, LLC expressly disclaims any warranty with respect to the information and any liability for errors or omissions. The user of this article or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information’s accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction should be contacted for code interpretations.