A fire extinguisher is a valuable asset to everyone’s fire safety. Most of the time we take fire extinguishers for granted. Having one at home or in a commercial area gives us an indispensable feeling of safety. Fire extinguishers are designed to be simple in use even by those who don’t have any firefighting training.

However, some aspects of fire extinguishers are commonly left unknown and, therefore, unattended to. Check-ups,  timeframes for servicing and maintenance, as well as expiration. And disposal dates of these firefighting tools are a mystery to the majority of people. While check-ups and maintenance should be performed at least every 1 to 6 years. The expiration of a fire extinguisher is a much rarer event. Since fire extinguishers are quite long-lasting, many people have no clue about such necessity as disposing of one safely.

 Why Is It Important To Dispose Of An Expired Fire Extinguisher?

When a fire extinguisher’s expiration date is due the fire extinguisher starts to lose its fire fighting potential. The canister succumbs to corrosion leading to cracks and holes and, eventually, leaking of the extinguisher agent. Safety pins and seals inside the fire extinguisher can also lose their functionality and lead to pressure loss. A hose can become inflexible and develop cracks. Or get clogged resulting in lowering the fire extinguisher’s ability to serve its purpose. In addition to compromised fire fighting abilities, such as malfunctioning. It can change a fire extinguisher from a lifesaving tool into a threat in your vicinity. Abrupt depressurizing of a container or leakage of chemical extinguishing agents can lead to serious injuries.

 When It Is Time To Dispose A Fire Extinguisher

The lifespan of the majority of fire extinguishers goes up to 12 years but it may vary depending on the chemical agents and the materials your tool is made of. Aside from the expiration date of a fire extinguisher, be considered wordy. Consider changing the wording. that it’s time to dispose of your firefighting tool. Here’s a shortlist of such issues:

–        Your fire extinguisher suffered serious physical damage and has visual flaws. It is not about fading paint or some scratches. If you’ve spotted that extinguisher’s shell has dents, holes, and cracks, or large speckles of rust on its body, then it’s time to dispose of it.

–        Its working parts such as hose and nozzle start losing their functionality. The rubber in the hose becomes stiff or cracks. Moving parts of the nozzle are malfunctioning or getting clogged.

–        Safety pins are damaged or missing, which leads to unintentional discharge.

–        The fire extinguisher starts to lose pressure or leak extinguishing agent.

–        It doesn’t pass a routine service check-up.

–        The handle becomes loose and is hard to manipulate.

 How To Dispose Of A Fire Extinguisher

According to the Florida Code of Federal Regulations, fire extinguishers are a part of emergency equipment that is marked as hazardous waste. Extinguishing chemicals and other parts of the extinguisher’s container pose danger to the environment. Taking into account that the majority of potable water in Florida comes from underground streams and sources. Reckless handling of hazardous substances can result in serious damage to the local ecology. Besides, poor recycling practices of containers under pressure can result in serious injuries.

 Depending on the state of your fire extinguisher there are a couple of options on how to dispose of it.

●       If you never used your fire extinguisher or it is still under pressure and contains the extinguishing agent. In such a case you can try and contact the nearest fire department and ask whether you can leave your expired extinguisher with them. Alternatively, you can always call a hazardous waste disposal facility. Such facilities are located across the state and have the authority and the equipment to recycle fire extinguishers safely.

●       If you think that your fire extinguisher is empty. Start with double-checking Even if it feels light. And the pressure gauge is stuck on the minimal mark, there still may be some agent leave inside. Find a safe place outside and squeeze the handle of the fire extinguisher to dispense the rest of the agent and lower the remaining pressure. After making sure that your extinguisher is completely empty you can try to remove the shell. Now you can drive to your nearest general waste disposal facility and drop the shell off there for recycling. The remaining parts of the fire extinguisher such as hose, nozzle, and others. These can dispose of as regular waste in your trash container.

If you don’t know which option suits your case better, consider reaching out to your local fire equipment specialist and ask for advice. Take into account that reckless handling of a fire extinguisher can lead to injuries.

Don’t Forget To Replace A Fire Extinguisher

Disposing of an old fire extinguisher is a necessary step that should be performed once your firefighting tool is no longer functional. However, once you’ve recycled the old one, you are lacking a crucial part in protecting your dwelling from fire hazards. It is extremely important to fill this gap in your safety as soon as possible. Thus, contacting your nearest fire equipment specialist to get a new reliable guard of your property. And life should be an integral step of your disposing of an old fire extinguisher.