How to Properly Dispose of Expired Fire Extinguishers

For many, fire extinguishers are the go-to choice when it comes to safekeeping their property in cases of fire emergencies. Though fire extinguisher maintenance is a must-know to help prolong its life, there will come a time that you will need to replace your old extinguisher with a new and more reliable one.

Unlike other things, an extinguisher isn’t disposed of in a conventional way — i.e., simply throwing it to the trash bin or taking it to the dumpster. It contains pressurized substances that when not handled properly can pose a danger to one’s health. In this article, we will be tackling how to safely get rid of an old fire extinguisher.

Do Fire Extinguishers Expire?

Generally speaking, fire extinguishers can last up to 12 years, given that proper fire extinguisher maintenance is done.

If you notice that your extinguisher’s host or nozzle is already clogged, or if its canister is showing signs of it losing pressure, you should consider replacing it a new one. This is also the case if its handle becomes too difficult to hold, or its pin is missing or damaged. These situations can make your extinguisher unreliable.

Once the inspection tag is also nowhere to be found, it could mean that the last maintenance on the extinguisher had been done too long ago. You can have it inspected and checked through a hydrostatic test to know if it is still in working condition — i.e., it could withstand pressures up to 500 psi.

So, How Do I Get Rid of Expired Extinguishers?

The proper way of disposing of old fire extinguishers shouldn’t be a difficult thing to do; however one must know that this should be done with utmost care, or it can potentially pose danger to you or to the ones who will encounter your improperly thrown extinguisher.

Empty fire extinguishers

This kind of old extinguisher is relatively easier to dispose of. To make sure it is fully empty, you need to squeeze the handle and discharge all remaining extinguishant. This will also help in releasing all the pressure inside the shell. To indicate that your extinguisher has been fully discharged, you should remove its head. Finally, you can get rid off the remaining steel shell by dropping it off by a recycling center or facility.

Full or partially full fire extinguishers

The materials and chemicals within a fire extinguisher can be hazardous to people and to the environment. This is why it is a must to have it taken to a facility that can process its disposal. One option is a firehouse near you; another is a local hazardous waste disposal facility. But, before taking it to any facility, you need to let the pressure out by squeezing the trigger.

For business owners

If your set of fire extinguishers is used for business purposes, it is most likely that it will be regularly serviced by your supplier or by a local authority. A service engineer on site should be able to determine if there are any expired extinguishers and subsequently offer to take them away.

Westminster Fire has been in the business of fire protection and safety since 1978. If you need help with fire extinguisher maintenance, contact us today!

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