Fire extinguishers are critical safety equipment that every home and building should have.

As common as smaller extinguishers are, many people do not actually know the different components they are made from or that they should be inspected periodically by a fire extinguisher service to ensure they will work properly.

Whether you have a personal extinguisher in your home or a larger, higher-capacity extinguisher at work, knowing the parts and what they do is the first step in correct extinguisher usage.

1. Cylindrical Tank

The red cylindrical tank is the most recognizable part of a fire extinguisher of any size.

From the super-small versions that that can be carried in your car to the commercial-sized ones that hold a lot more volume, the tank is what contains the pressurized extinguishing agent and propellant.

All extinguishers are:

  • Flat on the bottom so they can be set on the floor.
  • Have a domed top where the valve assembly attaches.
  • Are always made of metal.

They also bear various labels including an instruction label, a monthly fire extinguisher inspection label, and a yearly inspection label.

If an extinguisher becomes dented or develops any problems, be sure to have it looked at by a fire extinguisher service as using a damaged extinguisher could be very dangerous.

2. Valve Assembly

The valve assembly is the mechanism on top of the tank and is composed of multiple parts.

The valve assembly is what controls the pressure and flow of the extinguishing agent and propellant stored in the tank.

The parts that make up the valve assembly that is used to operate the fire extinguisher as well as to refill it when it is empty include:

  • Machined Metal Body - The main part of the valve that attaches to the tank.
  • Carrying Handle - For carrying the extinguisher.
  • Pull Pin - Locks the extinguisher so it cannot be accidentally discharged and must be pulled first to operate.
  • Tamper Seals - Plastic seals that hold the pull pin in place.
  • Dip Tube - A tube inside the tank that sucks up the extinguishing agent so it can be discharged.
  • Pressure Gauge - Monitors the pressure of the agents inside the tank.
  • Operating Lever - The lever that gets pressed to discharge the extinguisher.

3. A Hose and Nozzle

Also connected to the valve assembly on some fire extinguishers is the hose and nozzle that delivers the extinguishing agent when the lever is pressed.

On smaller, lighter extinguishers that do not have a hose, the nozzle is up at the top and extends directly off the valve assembly.

4. Chemical Extinguishing Agent

Inside the tank is the extinguishing agent that actually puts out fires.

A variety of chemicals are used inside fire extinguishers depending on the type of fire has been designed to handle.

When buying one from a fire extinguisher service, it is essential to get one filled with the right agent so it works properly on a particular fire.

5. Propellant

The propellant is what pushes the chemical extinguishing agent out of the extinguisher when the operating lever is pressed.

This pressurized gas may either be stored directly in the tank with the extinguishing agent or in a pressurized cartridge on the inside of the tank that mixes the gas with the agent when the lever is pressed.

Fire Extinguishers Need Regular Inspections

As easy as they may be to use after learning about the different parts and what each of them does, fire extinguishers can be very dangerous.

These pressurized canisters should receive regular fire extinguisher inspections to ensure they will function properly when needed.

If it has been a while since yours were inspected or there is some kind of problem with it, take it to a fire extinguisher service to be inspected immediately!

Have A Fire Extinguisher in College Station Texas?

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Call (979) 304-1813 to Schedule An Inspection!