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Adam Swift between fire extinguisher duty
Adam Swift between fire extinguisher duty

Have you noticed that there is a new tag hanging on your fire extinguisher?  Each year, UNC Fire Safety inspects over 8000 fire extinguishers, both on and off campus. We are constantly working to enhance the University fire extinguisher program.  There are new tags that are placed on all fire extinguishers that pass the annual maintenance.  These will help occupants as well as the inspectors tell if a fire extinguisher has been inspected within the past year.  Every year the tags will have the new year and a new color on the bottom.  This aids in being able to tell from a distance if it has been inspected.

Extinguisher TagsFire extinguishers also require more frequent inspections. The National Fire Protection Association standard on fire extinguishers requires that “Fire extinguishers shall be inspected either manually or by means of an electronic monitoring device/system at a minimum of 30-day intervals.” This is where I would like to reach out to different building emergency coordinators, building facility managers, building occupants, etc.  We cannot physically inspect 8000+ extinguishers every month.  We would like to request help with the monthly inspections campus wide.  Several different work groups are already inspecting the fire extinguishers monthly and we applaud them for taking the initiative.  Fire Safety will provide a short training for individuals who decide to help us with this task.  We will also provide a list of all of the locations of the fire extinguishers within each building.  The monthly inspections take 30 – 45 seconds per extinguisher.  In a nutshell for monthly inspections:

  • Check to make sure the fire extinguisher is in the correct location with the pull pin in place and a seal holding it in.
  • Gauge is in the green (operable zone).
  • The label with pictograms and instructions is facing out and legible and not to the back of the extinguisher.
  • There is no sign of damage/rust to the unit.

Extinguisher Tag - Back ViewThere are 12 spots located on the back of each of the new tags for the inspector to date and initial.  If you were to forget how to conduct a monthly inspection after the training, the instructions are also printed on the back of the tag as well.  EHS will replace any extinguishers that do not pass the monthly inspection.

If you would like to help us with our monthly inspection program, please contact Adam Swift ( and he will set you up with the training that you will need.

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