Portable Fire Extinguishers Policy

Applicable Legislation or Policies:

Ontario Fire Code (O. Reg 388/97); Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), O. Reg. 851 Industrial Establishments, Section 123 (1); National Fire Protection Association 10, Portable Fire Extinguishers

The purpose of this policy is to outline essential requirements of the Ontario Fire Code regarding portable fire extinguishers, and to promote the placement of fire extinguishers in the workplace that is appropriate for the potential fire risk. 

1. Definitions:

1.1 Class A Extinguisher: designed for fires fueled by ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper textiles (e.g. pressurized water).

1.2 Class B Extinguisher: designed for fires fueled by flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, paint (e.g. carbon dioxide).

1.3 Class C Extinguisher: designed for fires in live electrical equipment (e.g. carbon dioxide).

1.4 Class D Extinguisher: designed for fires fueled by combustible metals such as magnesium, potassium, powdered aluminum, zinc, sodium, titanium, zirconium and lithium (e.g. sand).

1.5 Class K Extinguisher: designed for kitchen grease fires.

1.6 Hydrostatic Testing: required every twelve (12) years on pressure vessels used as fire extinguishers; performed by persons trained in pressure testing procedures.

1.7 Inspection: a “quick check”each month that a fire extinguisher is available and will operate; verifies that it is its designated place, that it has not been actuated or tampered with, and that there is no obvious or physical damage or condition to prevent its operation. Inspections are typically provided by area facility staff or designated individuals.

1.8 Maintenance: a thorough annual examination of the fire extinguisher and any necessary repair or replacement. It will normally reveal if hydrostatic testing or internal maintenance is required. Maintenance is provided by certified fire safety personnel.

2. Requirements Under the Ontario Fire Code, Part 6

Note: additional requirements may be listed under Ontario Fire Code. Where a discrepancy exists between this Policy and the legislation, the legislation shall take priority.


2.1 Portable extinguishers shall be located so that they are easily seen and shall be accessible at all times. (ref. (1))

2.2 Portable extinguishers shall be located in or adjacent to corridors or aisles that provideaccess to exits. (


2.3 The location of portable extinguishers shall be prominently indicated by signs or markings in largefloor areasand in locations where visual obstructions cannot be avoided. (

Proximity to fire hazards

2.4 Portable extinguishers in proximity to a fire hazard shall be located so as to be accessible without exposing the operator to undue risk. (

Corrosive atmosphere

2.5. Portable extinguishers that are subject to corrosion shall not be installed in a corrosive environment unless they are provided with appropriate corrosion protection. (

Distance above floor

2.6 Portable extinguishers with a gross weight greater than 18 kg shall be installed so that the top of the extinguisher is not more than 1.1 m above the floor when the extinguisher is not equipped with wheels. (

2.7 Portable extinguishers having a gross weight of 18 kg or less shall be installed so that the top of the extinguisher is not more than 1.5 m above the floor. (

Building protection

2.8 Portable extinguishers that are provided to protect abuildingshall be suitable for fightingClass A firesand be available for use at all times. (

Occupancy protection

2.9 Portable extinguishers that are provided to protect a hazardousoccupancyshall
be those required in this Section for fightingClass A fires,Class B fires,Class C firesorClass Dfires. ( See section 6.2.6. (4-16) for additional information and guidance.


2.9.1 Portable extinguishers shall be inspected monthly. (


2.9.2 Each portable extinguisher shall have a tag securely attached to it showing the maintenance or recharge date, the servicing agency and the signature of the person who performed the service. ( (1)

Maintenance records

2.9.3. A permanent record containing the maintenance date, the examiner’s name anda description of any maintenance work or hydrostatictestingcarried out shall be prepared and maintained for each portable extinguisher. (

Maintenance after use

2.9.4 Portable extinguishers shall be replaced and recharged after use in conformance with instructions given on the extinguisher nameplate. (

2.9.5 Extinguisher shells, cartridges or cylinders that show leakage or permanent distortion in excess of specified limits or that rupture shall be removed from service. (

3.0 Policy Statement

3.1 Maintenance on portable fire extinguishers will be conducted in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 10.

3.2The University’s Fire Safety Office shall provide guidanceand/or instructions regarding the selection, placement, and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers in the workplace.

3.3 Training on the safe use of portable fire extinguishers shall be provided for employees as requested. The Fire Safety Office is responsible for coordinating fire safety training initiatives.

3.4 The use of portable fire extinguishers shall be reported immediately to the Fire Safety Office to ensure a timely replacement.

3.5 Every fire extinguisher on campus must be inspected monthly by the appropriate designated individuals for that area. Designated area individuals conducting these inspections should verify that:

  • The extinguisher is located in close proximity to a potential hazard;
  • The locking pin is intact and sealed;
  • The pressure is within the correct range;
  • There is no obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle;
  • The area around the fire extinguisher is clear of obstructions;
  • The location of the fire extinguisher is conspicuous;
  • A signed tag is attached.

3.6 Inspections tags are available from the Fire Safety Office if needed. Any problems related to a portable fire extinguisher must be reported to the workplace supervisor. The Fire Safety Office may provide advice on the maintenance, service and records of fire extinguishers on campus.

3.7 Reusable fire extinguishers must be recharged after every use or when the gauge indicates a condition less than fully charged.

For questions related to the inspection, maintenance, recharging, testing, or training related to portable fire extinguishers please contact the Fire Safety Office.

Policy No: 851.02.03 

Revised: November 3, 2016

Division: Fire Safety

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