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Why do fire extinguishers need to be serviced?

15th Jul 2021

Extinguisher Detail | Red Box Fire Control

Fire extinguishers are essential pieces of safety equipment often taken for granted, not just in the home but also in workplaces and public spaces like shopping malls and entertainment venues.

It’s important to recognise that fire extinguishers - however durable - come with a limited lifespan. Keeping yours well serviced and within its functional period could prove the difference between putting out a blaze safely or risking irreparable damage. And this is why regular servicing checks are so important!

In this blog we’ll explain everything you need to know about servicing your fire extinguisher, from understanding servicing frequencies and proper usage through to detection of potential problems.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that fire extinguishers and other installed fire equipment must be fit for purpose, properly installed and maintained following the manufacturers' instructions or relevant British Standard Code of Practice.

You need to make sure that your extinguishers can be readily accessed at all times and will work when you need them. With regular servicing and visual inspections in-house your fire extinguishers can be long lasting and reliable for fighting small flames early on.

Even though the majority of the service procedure will be similar for each type of fire extinguisher, the exact steps taken will vary depending on the model being serviced.

Here are the main things the service technician will be looking out for when servicing a fire extinguisher:

Internal Damage

Over time, deterioration or damage can appear in hard to see areas. For example, corrosion to aluminium, steel and even plastic can occur on the inside of the cylinder or the operating mechanism. If left undiscovered, this could cause the extinguisher to fail when operated.

Another area where it can be hard to see a problem is the discharge hose on the extinguisher. Even when not used, debris or insects can get lodged in the hose, which could reduce the efficiency of the extinguisher when used.


Modern fire extinguishers are pressurised and most have a pressure gauge. However, gauges sometimes fail. As part of the fire extinguisher service, an engineer can check to see if the extinguisher has actually lost pressure or if the problem is a faulty gauge. (This doesn’t apply to CO2 extinguishers, which operate at very high pressure and have no gauge).

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If you have never had to use a fire extinguisher, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be checked. Like everything, these devices will experience wear and tear especially if outside or in an active setting.

It is very important to make sure that all labels on the extinguisher are legible as they contain important instructions for the proper use and a record of maintenance. Also, they let the service technician locate vital information.


Any time a fire extinguisher discharges—even for a short burst—it should be serviced, recharged or replaced.

Even though a fire extinguisher pressure gauge might show there is enough gas in there, it could still leak over time after any use, so it is best to get the fire extinguisher serviced.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your fire extinguishers are properly serviced and maintained. By regularly servicing and visually inspecting your fire extinguishers, you can ensure they will work when needed.

The service technician will be looking for specific things depending on the type of fire extinguisher being serviced.

If you have any questions about servicing or maintaining your fire extinguishers, get in touch.

We would be happy to help you ensure your fire safety equipment is up to code.

Fire Extinguisher Servicing Checklist

Red Box Fire Control is proud to celebrate over 35 years in the fire safety industry.

Over this time we've grown in knowledge and expertise, focussing on supporting businesses with their compliance in a friendly yet efficient manner.

We are confident that we're able to provide our customers with a high level of professionalism and industry insight. Add to this our commitment to integrity, and when it comes to fire safety you can expect peace of mind unmatched by other suppliers.

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