Oct 18 2012

Class ‘K’ Fire Extinguisher Placard

Category: BlogBKeyes @ 5:00 am

I have a confession to make… I don’t know it all. I never have and never will. For those of you who know me, I’m sure you’re laughing at me right now, as many of you know what mistakes I’ve made in my career. But I’ve always tried to know and understand the ‘basics’, if you will. And when I didn’t know the answer right away, I was satisfied I could always find the answer in the appropriate codes or standards.

Well, I admit I was stumped on what appears to be an easy question. I visited a hospital recently who received a CMS validation survey, based on a complaint. The state agency who conducted the survey came in with multiple individuals and stayed for days pouring over documentation and examining the building with a fine-toothed comb for compliance with the Life Safety Code.

The hospital was cited for not having a placard near the Class K fire extinguishers informing the staff not to use the fire extinguisher until the cooking hood fire suppression system had been activated. I had never heard of this, so I contacted the surveyor at the state agency and asked what code or standard required this. He replied it was in NFPA 10 (1998 edition) so I went through that and could not find anything that remotely addressed a placard, let alone required it. Another call back to the surveyor at the state agency (he was pretty annoyed with me by now… I have that affect on some people) and he admitted he gave me the wrong standard (on purpose?). He said it was in NFPA 96 (1998 edition), and sure enough, there it was in section 7-2.1.1:

“A placard identifying the use of the extinguisher as a secondary means to the automatic fire suppression system shall be conspicuously placed near each portable fire extinguisher in the cooking area.”

Now, the standard says ‘each portable fire extinguisher in the cooking area’, but the state surveyor cited just the Class K extinguishers.

I learned something new that day, so I considered it a successful day. If you don’t have those placards near all of your extinguishers in the cooking areas of your establishment, then I suggest you consider them, before you get cited.


Jan 21 2012

Fire Extinguisher Inspection Tag

Category: BlogBKeyes @ 12:30 pm

The picture of the inspection tag on the fire extinguisher to the left is not the greatest quality and I apologize for it being out-of-focus. I took the picture because the technicians at the hospital where the extinguisher was at only entered the month and year on the tag, rather than the month and day.

Section of the 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code requires compliance with section, which in turn requires compliance with NFPA 10 (1998 edition) Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers.  NFPA 10 (1998 edition), section 4-3.4.2 requires the monthly inspection to be recorded including the date and the initials of the person performing the inspection. The ‘date’ includes the month and day of the month.


The annual maintenance is required to be recorded which includes the date (this time the month, day, and year is required) and the initials of the person performing the maintenance. Many fire extinguisher contractors are just stamping the technicians name on the card, which is not what NFPA 10 requires.

Most AHJs are now enforcing this type of month/day documentation for the fire extinguisher inspection and annual inspection. Just punching a hole in the month and year on the inspection tag for the annual inspection is no longer enough. The month, day, and year needs to be clearly listed.


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