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    Replace Faded or Damaged Extinguisher Labels

    By Mark Conroy

    Labels that show fire type(s) and operating instructions are provided on the front of every new portable fire extinguisher manufactured today. As part of the monthly inspection and annual maintenance, extinguisher labels need to be examined. New labels are needed when problems are discovered. Here is what you need to know to make sure every extinguisher in the field has code-compliant labels.

    Label Requirements

    Underwriters Laboratories performance standards (such as UL 299) require manufacturers to install pictographic operating instructions and pictographic fire classes on new extinguishers. Previously, extinguishers had A, B, C, and D labels. Most people do not know what the letters mean. Also a study showed many people took too long to read and understand the old-style operating instructions, whereas the picture labels are much easier to grasp and understand.

    How Labels Get Damaged

    Nothing lasts forever, including extinguisher labels. Fading occurs due to many environmental conditions, and they can get scraped and torn in work areas. Unfortunately, this can affect their readability. Consequently, any extinguisher with a label that is impaired needs a new one. But be careful, the label with the listing mark should not be removed, so contact the manufacturer if there is a problem with nameplate listing information.

    Installing New Labels

    NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers requires these labels to be examined monthly and at the time of annual maintenance. Where faded, damaged, or missing labels are found, new self-adhesive ones are installed. The following tables provide information on replacement labels.

    Fire Classification Pictorial Labels

    Type P/N Symbols
    ABC BL101N  ABC Pictorial
    BC BL102N  BC Pictorial
    A BL103N  A Pictorial

    Combined Fire Classification and Operating Instruction Labels

    Type Extinguisher w/Hose Extinguisher w/Nozzle Extinguisher w/Cartridge
    ABC BL200 BL201 BL207
    BC BL202 BL203 BL208
    Water BL204
    CO2 BL206

    Illegible labels serve no purpose and need to be replaced. Modern self-adhesive vinyl labels, from Brooks, revitalize extinguishers with code-compliant information that matches UL and NFPA criteria. Your customers will appreciate your attention to detail and an economic resolution to their code infraction.

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    Mark Conroy is an engineer in our Boston, MA office and a principal member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Portable Fire Extinguishers.
    ©2017 Brooks Equipment.

    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.