FAQs & Blog

What services do you provide?
What type of payment do you accept?
I do not have a PayPal Account. Will that be a problem?
Do you provide and install fire equipment?
Do you wholesale to other safety houses or fire equipment companies?
Do you offer free freight?
Can you provide quotes for items that are not on your website?
Fire Extinguisher FAQs ?
Why do I need fire extinguishers installed in my business?
Who is responsible for maintaining the fire extinguishers?
Why are there different types of fire extinguishers?
What types of fire extinguishers do I need for my business?
How many fire extinguishers do I need for my business?
Why are there so many labels and tags on my fire extinguishers?
What are the maintenance requirements for my fire extinguishers?
What is hydrostatic testing on a fire extinguisher?
Why do I need to have my fire extinguishers hydrostatically tested?
Why is hydrostatic testing so expensive?
Can hydrostatic testing be done on-site?
How often must I have my fire extinguishers hydrostatically tested?
What are the steps involved with hydrostatic testing?
Am I required to keep maintenance records on my fire extinguishers?
Am I required to replace my fire extinguishers periodically?
Am I required to train employees on the proper use of fire extinguishers?


What services do you provide?
We service all types portable fire extinguishers. as well as fire hose and emergency lighting signs. Service can be performed on-site or at our Napa, California service center.

What type of payment do you accept?
We accept credit and debit cards, (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express via PayPal), Purchase Orders with established credit, checks, or cash. Note, for on line purchases we only accept debit or credit cards.

Don't have a PayPal Account - Not a Problem !
PayPal is our credit and debit card processor. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can still process your payment with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express credit or debit cards.

Do you provide and install fire equipment?
YES. We sell and install all types of portable fire extinguishers, fire extinguisher cabinets, hose, and fire safety signs. Please contact our office at 1-800-300-4114 for pricing and availability for installations or other products.

Do you wholesale to other safety houses or fire equipment companies?
YES. Please contact our office at 1-800-300-4114 for quantity pricing including ANSUL Sentry ® and Amerex extinguishers and other products.

Do you offer free freight?
YES. Please see our Shipping & Returns policy page.

Can you provide quotes for items that are not on your website?
YES. Please contact our sales staff for any quote large or small. We will work with you to provide a quick quote and delivery date for any item you may need. If we don't have the item you need, we will steer you in the right direction to obtain the item. We have an established network of contacts in the safety and fire protection industries to fill your needs. Your satisfaction is our goal.

Fire Extinguisher FAQs

Why do I need fire extinguishers installed in my business?

They are required to protect your business (building and contents) and the occupants (employees, tenants, or customers) from a major loss or injury due to a fire. Most fires start small and can easily be extinguished, without serious property damage or injury to occupants, if the proper fire extinguisher is readily available.

They are probably required by your liability insurance carrier.

They are required by law:

Who is responsible for maintaining the fire extinguishers?
You are responsible for the inspection, maintenance, and recharging of the fire extinguishers.

Why are there different types of fire extinguishers?
There are different types of fires which are classified by the type of flammable material or hazard they present. Different types of flammable material and fires require different extinguishing agents to effectively extinguish the fire:

Classes of fire:

CLASS A: Fires in ordinary combustible materials such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics.
CLASS B: Fires in flammable or combustible liquids, such as oils, greases, tars, oil base paints, lacquers, and flammable gases.
CLASS C: Fires involving energized electrical equipment when electrical non-conductivity of the extinguishing media is of importance.
CLASS D: Fires in combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, sodium, lithium, and potassium.
CLASS K: Fires in cooking appliances that involve combustible cooking media (vegetable or animal oils and fats).

Fire Protection Rating.
The classification of extinguishers shall consist of a LETTER which indicates the class of fire on which an extinguisher has been found to be effective, preceded by a rating NUMBER (Class A and B only) which indicates the relative extinguishing effectiveness such as 2:A-10:BC.

EXCEPTION: Extinguishers classified for use on Class C, Class D, or Class K hazards shall not be required to have a number preceding the classification letter.

What types of fire extinguishers do I need for my business?
The types of extinguishers needed are determined by three factors:

  • The type of flammable materials or potential fire hazards present in your business.
  • The risk of a potential fire or injury to occupants from a fire.
  • State and Local Fire Codes that apply to your business.

How many fire extinguishers do I need for my business?
The California State Fire Marshal and most local fire marshals have adopted standardized codes to define the MINIMUM requirements.

 

Light (Low) Hazard
Occupancy

Ordinary (Moderate) Hazard
Occupancy

Extra (High) Hazard
Occupancy

Minimum rated single extinguisher

2-A

2-A

4-A*

Maximum floor area per unit of A

3,000 sq ft

1,500 sq ft

1,000 sq ft

Maximum floor area for extinguisher

11,250 sq ft

11,250 sq ft

11,250 sq ft

Maximum travel distance to extinguisher

75 ft

75 ft

75 ft

In summary, to be considered acceptable in MOST locales, a minimum 2:A-10:BC 5 Lb Multipurpose Dry Chemical fire extinguisher is required. Some locales require the minimum rating to be 3:A-40:BC. Check with your local fire marshal to determine the requirements for your location.

Why are there so many labels and tags on my fire extinguishers?
The labels and tags on your fire extinguishers serve a number of purposes. Federal, State, or Local laws and regulations require these labels. A brief description of the various labels is listed below. Some may not be present on all fire extinguishers – they are only installed after a specific service or test has been done, such as hydrostatic testing.

Manufacturer’s Label:
The Manufacturer’s Label must be on the front of the fire extinguisher and contains:

  • The Class (A, B, C, D, K) of fire that the extinguisher is designed to extinguish.
  • The Numeric Rating of the size of fire the extinguisher can put out (such as 2:A-10:BC).
  • The written and pictorial operating instructions.
  • The chemical type and weight of the extinguishing agent or charge and the overall weight of the charged cylinder. It may also include the weight of the empty cylinder.
  • The operating pressure and maximum charge pressure of the cylinder.
  • The date of manufacture and other safety, maintenance, and test information specific to that particular fire extinguisher, and required to properly maintain the extinguisher.

Monthly Inspection Tag:
This is typically found on the reverse side of the Annual Inspection Tag.
The Monthly Inspection Tag contains:
The identity of the owner and space to record the date and status of the eleven (11) required monthly inspections performed on the extinguisher by the owner.

It is replaced annually at the time of the Annual Inspection.

Annual Inspection Tag:
The Annual Inspection Tag will be attached to the fire extinguisher, near the handle on all fire extinguishers.
The Annual Inspection Tag contains:

  • Information about the company and service technician providing the annual inspection, as required by the state or local fire marshal.
  • The date (Month, Day, Year) that a NEW fire extinguisher was placed in service. It will also indicate that this is a NEW extinguisher.
  • The date that the Last Annual Maintenance was performed.

It is replaced annually at the time of the Annual Inspection or when the extinguisher requires recharging or internal maintenance and/or testing.

Verification of Service Collar
The Verification of Service Collar will be found encircling the neck of the fire extinguisher, just below the handle, if internal service or recharging has been performed.
The Verification of Service Collar contains:

  • Information about the company and service technician providing the annual inspection, as required by the state or local fire marshal.
  • The date (Month, Day, Year) that a fire extinguisher underwent internal service or recharging.

It is replaced when the extinguisher requires recharging or internal maintenance and/or testing.

Hydrostatic Test Label
The Hydrostatic Test Label will be found on the body or cylinder of older fire extinguishers that have passed this test.
The Hydrostatic Test Label contains:

  • Information about the company performing the test, as required by the state or local fire marshal.
  • The date (Month, Day, Year) that a fire extinguisher passed hydrostatic testing.

This label is never replaced or removed. When the extinguisher requires second or subsequent hydrostatic tests, an additional label is added.

What are the maintenance requirements for my fire extinguishers?

  1. Monthly Inspection by building owner, occupant, or his/her authorized agent
  2.  Annual Fire Extinguisher Inspection
  3.  Internal (6-year) Fire Extinguisher Maintenance (also referred to as Tear Down)
  4. Hydrostatic Testing every 12 years (5 years for vehicle-mounted and some others)

Annual, Internal Maintenance, and Hydrostatic testing must be performed by a licensed fire extinguisher service company, such as Best Fire Equipment.
Fire extinguishers mounted on vehicles, such as cars, trucks, or forklifts, must have internal maintenance performed concurrently with hydrostatic testing which must be done every 5 years.

What is hydrostatic testing on a fire extinguisher?
Fire extinguisher contents are maintained under pressure over long periods of time. To ensure that the shell (cylinder) and hose or nozzle has no defects due to metal fatigue or other causes, the cylinders are emptied, filled with water, and then brought up to a specified pressure over a short period of time (typically 30 seconds). The shell (cylinder) must contain that pressure for 1 minute (or the time specified by manufacturer’s maintenance procedures) while the cylinder is inspected for signs of stress, leaks, bulging and other indications of metal fatigue. Hoses on some extinguishers must also be hydrostatically tested.

Why do I need to have my fire extinguishers hydrostatically tested?
It is required by law.
It also ensures that they are safe to place into operation and can be expected to maintain pressure and function properly when needed.

Why is hydrostatic testing so expensive?

Hydrostatic testing is more expensive than a recharge or tear down service because it requires special test equipment and it is a time-consuming process.

Can hydrostatic testing be done on-site?
No, it cannot be done at your site.

How often must I have my fire extinguishers hydrostatically tested?
The following table illustrates how frequently different types of fire extinguishers must be hydrostatically tested.

Dry Chemical fire extinguishers mounted on vehicles (trucks, fork-lifts, tractors, boats, aircraft, etc.) must be hydrostatically tested every 5 years.

Hydrostatic Test Interval for Extinguishers

Extinguisher Type

Test Interval
(Years)

Stored Pressure Water and/or Antifreeze/Loaded Stream

5

AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam)

5

FFFP (Film Forming Fluoroprotein Foam)

5

Wet Chemical

5

Dry Chemical With Stainless Steel Shells

5

Carbon Dioxide

5

Dry Chemical, Stored Pressure with Mild Steel Shells, Brazed Brass Shells, or Aluminum Shells

12

Dry Chemical, Cartridge and Cylinder-Operated, with Mild Steel Shells

12

Dry Powder, stored pressure, cartridge or cylinder operated with Mild Steel Shells

12

Halogenated Agents

12

What are the steps involved with hydrostatic testing?
Hydrostatic Test Service includes:
(1) If a charge remains on the cylinder, it is emptied and the charge is processed and recovered for re-use. Halon extinguishers require special equipment. The charge must be emptied into a Halon Recovery Chamber, to comply with environmental regulations.
(2) The head is removed
(3) The inside of the cylinder is inspected for any signs of damage, rust, or corrosion.
(4) The cylinder is filled with water and a high-pressure fitting is installed to allow pressure testing.
(5) Water is manually pumped into the cylinder until the internal pressure is 2-3 times the normal operating pressure for the cylinder (typically 585 PSI, or as specified by the manufacturer).
(6) Inlet valve is closed and the cylinder must maintain the minimum test pressure for at least 60 seconds.
(7) The cylinder is inspected to verify that there are no signs of leaks, cracks, or bulges that would indicate a defective cylinder.
(8) The pressure is then released and the cylinder is drained and thoroughly dried.
(9) Finally, if the cylinder passed all tests and inspections, a new Hydrostatic Test Label is attached to the cylinder per State Fire Marshal directives.

IF the cylinder fails any of these tests or inspections, it must be removed from service and replaced with a new extinguisher.

If the cylinder passes all tests and inspections, steps 2 – 9 of the Internal (Tear Down) Maintenance are performed and the cylinder is returned to service.

Internal (Tear Down) Maintenance includes:
(1) If a charge remains on the cylinder, it is emptied and the charge is processed and recovered for re-use.
(2) The head is disassembled, O-rings replaced, and valve is lubricated.
(3) Interior of the cylinder is inspected for signs of rust, corrosion, other deterioration.
(4) Hose / Nozzle assemblies are inspected and repaired or replaced as needed.
(5) Handle and other parts are inspected and repaired or replaced as needed.
(6) Cylinder is refilled with extinguishing agent to specified weight or volume.
(7) A “Verification of Service Collar” is installed per State Fire Marshal directives.
(8) Extinguisher is reassembled, pressurized, and tested for leaks.
(9) Finally, a new “Annual Maintenance Tag” is attached to the cylinder per State Fire Marshal directives. This tag also has space for the owner to record monthly inspections.

Am I required to keep maintenance records on my fire extinguishers?
Yes.
This is for your own protection in the event of a fire resulting in any legal action or insurance claims for loss. Fire extinguisher service companies are required to provide itemized invoices for any service and parts replaced during servicing.

Am I required to replace my fire extinguishers periodically?
That depends on the type of extinguishers that you own. Some extinguishers are not serviceable or rechargeable (i.e. they are Single-Use). Some extinguishers are more cost effective to replace with a new one, than to service or maintain them.

Below is a list of extinguisher types that are considered obsolete and the state fire marshal requires that they be removed from service.
577.2. Obsolete Fire Extinguishers.

The following types of fire extinguishers are considered obsolete and shall be removed from service:
(1) Soda acid types
(2) Chemical foam (excluding AFFF and FFFP)
(3) Vaporizing liquid (e.g., carbon tetrachloride)
(4) Cartridge-operated water
(5) Cartridge-operated loaded stream
(6) Copper or brass shell fire extinguishers (excluding pump tanks) joined by soft solder or rivets
(7) Stored pressure water extinguishers with fiberglass shells
(8) Solid charge-type AFFF extinguishers (paper cartridge)
(9) Pressurized water fire extinguishers manufactured prior to 1971
(10) Any extinguisher that needs to be inverted to operate
(11) Any stored pressure extinguisher manufactured prior to 1955
(12) Any extinguishers with 4B, 6B, 8B, 12B, and 16B fire ratings
(13) Dry chemical stored pressure extinguishers, other than wheeled type, manufactured prior to
      October 1984 shall be removed from service at the next 6-year maintenance interval or the next
      hydrostatic test interval, whichever comes first.

      Note: Authority cited: Section 13160, Health and Safety Code. Reference: Section 13160, Health and Safety Code.

Am I required to train employees on the proper use of fire extinguishers?
Yes.
The following information was extracted from Cal-OSHA and Federal OSHA 1910.157(g)(1) guidelines and codes.
(g) Training and Education.
(1) Where the employer has provided portable fire extinguishers for employee use in the workplace, the employer shall also provide an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage fire fighting.
(2) The employer shall provide the education required in subsection (g)(1) of this Section upon initial employment and at least annually thereafter.
(3) The employer shall provide employees who have been designated to use fire fighting equipment as part of an emergency action plan with training in the use of the appropriate equipment.
(4) The employer shall provide the training required in subsection (g)(3) of this Section upon initial assignment to the designated group of employees and at least annually thereafter.
NOTE: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.

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