Portable Fire Extinguisher Procedures

The portable fire extinguishers in and around the buildings at UCSC are owned and are maintained by a program operated through Physical Plant. These portable extinguishers are numbered according to a naming convention that looks like this:

FE (FC)-###-#-#

  • The first three digits are the last three digits of the building asset number or CAAN. 
  • The second number represents the floor of the building the portable fire extinguisher is located at.
  • The third number represents the logical progression of portable fire extinguishers on that floor from a logical starting point like a main entrance to a building.

To report a problem with a portable fire extinguisher, please contact the Work Order Desk (9-4444 or WoDesk@ucsc.edu or SelfService). Problems with portable fire extinguishers are usually in the form of improper pressure, a discharged extinguisher that has been reported or is missing. The numbering system should be both on the portable fire extinguisher and in the back or the cabinet or bracket so that you/we will know what unit is missing if it is missing. These portable fire extinguishers are serviced (inspected and maintained) annually or once a year. The last date of service is punched into the tag hanging from the portable fire extinguisher. It is important to note that the date on the tag is not when the service was due but, when it last took place.

It is responsibility of the Facility Coordinator to see that the required monthly visual inspections are being completed, per CAL-OSHA Title 8 Section 6151 and Title 19 Section 574.1 of the California Code of Regulations. This is a requirement for campus vehicles maintaining a portable fire extinguisher as well. For more information on performing these inspections, please go to Portable Fire Extinguishers: Monthly Inspections.

Monthly Inspections

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers) requires portable extinguishers to be inspected when they are installed and at intervals of not more than 30 days thereafter. Inspections may be performed manually - as illustrated here - or through an electronic monitoring system.

Manual inspections may be performed by the property owner, facility coordinator or an appointed individual. The periodic inspection or electronic monitoring of the fire extinguishers should include a check or at least the following items:

  • The portable extinguishers are in their designated locations.
  • There are no obstructions to access or visibility that would prevent the extinguisher from easy use.
  • Pressure gauges, if provided, show readings or indications in the operable range.
  • For self-expelling extinguishers, their fullness is determined by weighing or hefting. "Hefting" is determining the fullness of an extinguisher by feeling it's weight.
  • For non-rechargeable extinguishers, the push-to-test pressure indicators should be operated.*

Monthly inspections should be appropriately documented

Monthly inspections must be documented using a paper service tag physically attached to the fire extinguisher.  Upon completion of a monthly inspection, the inspector should mark the service tag with their initials corresponding to the month of inspection.  

If any deficiencies are found during the inspection, NFPA requires immediate corrective actions. Please contact the Work Order Desk (9-4444 or WoDesk@ucsc.edu or Self Service).

In areas of severe hazards, where there has been a high frequency of fires in the past, in locations that make fire extinguishers susceptible to mechanical injury or damage, or where extinguishers are exposed to abnormal temperatures or corrosive atmospheres, they should be inspected to:

  • Verify the operating instructions on nameplate are legible and face outward.
  • Check for broken or missing safety seals and tamper indicators.
  • Confirm that there is no obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.*

For additional information or questions, please contact the Lead Designated Campus Fire Marshal

*Used with permission from NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers

More Information

How do I add a portable fire extinguisher to my lab or building?

Please contact the Lead Designated Campus Fire Marshal for a formal review of your location. There are many factors that will dictate the type of portable fire extinguisher that would best fit your application. Most likely, the minimum fire code requirements have already been met in your area, but will be formally reviewed at request. If your request exceeds the minimum requirements, you will be expected to provided a FOAPAL for the purchase, installation and continued service of the device(s) with Physical Plant. It is important that you contact Physical Plant prior to purchase so you can be provided with the pre-approved models and brands or portable fire extinguishers.