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How often do fire extinguishers have to be serviced?

All fire extinguisher should be installed and commissioned by a competent person. Traditional steel/aluminium extinguishers must also be serviced, again by a competent person, annually thereafter.

The annual service of traditional steel/aluminium extinguishers involves the following activities:

Servicing fire extinguishers

  • Basic service – applies to all steel/aluminium extinguishers and is carried out annually. It includes primarily the inspection of gauges, pins, hose, tags, weight, external state of extinguishers and the updating of the service-sticker.
  • Extended service – foam*, water, powder and wet chemical extinguishers require in addition an extended service every 5 years. During the extended service, the extinguisher is discharged, internally inspected and re-filled. Most of the basic service elements are carried out as well. While the extended service could be carried out at the customer, they are increasingly achieved by swapping out the extinguishers with a ‘service-exchange’, which is the swapping-out of an extinguisher with a refurbished or new extinguisher.

    * We do not offer an extended service on foam extinguishers as many, especially older units, contain the fluorosurfactant PFOA as their additive. This is known to cause cumulative environmental damage (hence the nickname "forever chemicals")

  • Overhaul – this applies only to high pressure extinguishers such as carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers. This overhaul is a legal requirement and has to be carried out every 10 years. This requires the extinguisher body to be hydraulically tested in excess of 200 bar and the head assembly to be renewed prior to recharging. As this cannot be carried out in the field a service-exchange with refurbished or new extinguishers is required.

Upon completion of the annual extinguisher service, the competent person should provide the responsible person at the customer with a written maintenance report detailing the work carried out and record relevant information from the written report in a fire safety log book.


In addition to the servicing carried out by the competent person, the customer’s responsible person must carry out an additional, regular visual inspections of all extinguishers, usually once a month, to determine that:

  1. each extinguisher is correctly located in its designated place;
  2. each extinguisher is unobstructed and visible;
  3. the operating instructions on each extinguisher are clean and legible and face outwards;
  4. each extinguisher has not been operated and is not obviously damaged or has any missing parts;
  5. the reading of any pressure gauge is within the green zone;
  6. the tamper indicators of each extinguisher are not broken or missing.

The responsible person should record the results of these visual inspections in a fire safety log book and arrange for any corrective action to be carried out.

Important: Service-free extinguishers, such as the P50 extinguishers do not require an annual service by a competent person. Instead, they require a simplified annual visual inspection by the owner/user which is also recorded in the fire safety log book. The P50 is also only re-filled after 10 years rather than the 5 years.


Reviewed: 05/07/2022 (doc:571 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.


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