It is critical to ensure that any fire extinguisher is properly maintained. Locating the manufacturing date will help you to ascertain whether the extinguisher requires refilling, refurbishing or replacing.
The manufacturing date of a steel extinguisher is important when it comes to refilling; (foam*, powder, wet chemical, & water extinguishers) or refurbishing (CO2 extinguishers), also called extended extinguisher service.
*Safelincs have discontinued fire extinguishers containing AFFF foam due to the harmful nature of fluorine compounds its fire fighting foam contains.
To find out the age of an extinguisher you need to look for dates stamped on the cylinder body, printed on the extinguisher label or printed on the extinguisher itself.
Sometimes the date stamp is hidden under the plastic ring around the neck of an extinguisher or under the plastic boot of the extinguisher. If paint has obscured the date stamp the paint needs to be rubbed off with emery cloth.
The extended service of foam, water and powder extinguishers is due either 5 years from initial commissioning or 6 years after manufacture, whatever comes first. The refurbishment of CO2 extinguishers is due after 10 years from the cylinder manufacture. In the case of the CO2 extinguishers it is irrelevant when the extinguisher was commissioned or even when it was assembled by the manufacturer. The only date that is relevant in this specific case is the cylinder manufacturing date. This is because of the high pressure in CO2 extinguishers, which makes the cylinders fall into regulation for high pressure cylinders.
To find out when an extinguisher was commissioned, simply check on the maintenance label of the extinguisher.
We will make servicing your fire extinguishers an effortless legal obligation for you. Our nationwide BAFE approved service engineers will carry out your servicing in accordance to BS5306 and we provide you with clear pricing, including all basic spare parts. Contact us now to book your extinguisher servicing on 0800 612 4827.
The average lifespan of a powder, foam or water extinguisher is usually between 10 and 12 years. This is based on the extinguisher being in good condition with no corrosion or damage. After this time, the fire extinguisher should be replaced with a new one. CO2 extinguishers, assuming they are in good working order, should be refurbished or replaced after 10 years from the date of manufacture.
P50 Service-free Extinguishers only require one manufacturer refurbishment after 10 years. If this refurbishment is carried out, P50 extinguishers have a total lifespan of 20 years. P50 Fire Extinguishers do not require annual servicing from a qualified engineer, or a discharge and refill after 5 years, but they do require an annual 3-step inspection by a trained member of staff.
The manufacture date of earlier P50 models is printed on the base, underneath the extinguisher.
Newer models of P50 Extinguisher have a coloured plug in the side of the nozzle holder at the bottom of the hose. The colour corresponds with a table printed on the Extinguisher which details a colour for each year of manufacture. As shown in the example below, a grey coloured plug indicates a 2017 manufacture date according to the table.
Reviewed: 08/03/2022 (doc:28 V1.1). 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.