NFPA 10 sets rules for mounting fire extinguishers

Tip Of The Week, May 14, 2003

The Life Safety Code (LSC) requires all health care facilities to have portable fire extinguishers available. One concern to think about is the mounting requirements for portable extinguishers.

You can find these provisions in NFPA 10, Portable Fire Extinguishers. The LSC points you to this standard in paragraph, which says you must install extinguishers as required in NFPA 10's 1998 version.

Two major factors figure into how you mount an extinguisher:

1. The hanger or bracket used to hold the equipment

2. How high above the floor the extinguisher goes

As mandated in paragraph 1-6.7 in NFPA 10, facilities must securely install extinguishers on the hanger or bracket supplied by the vendor, or place the equipment in cabinets or wall recesses. If you use a hanger or bracket, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and secure it properly.

Also, note that 1-67's requirements do not apply to wheeled fire extinguishers. Instead, you should put those models in designated locations.

Further, if you find that particular extinguishers frequently get dislodged-perhaps stretchers always hit them as staff members wheel patients down a corridor-then 1-6.8 requires special brackets designed to withstand the jolting.

NPFA 10 also sets specific conditions for the height of portable extinguisher installations-see 1-6.10 for the full rundown.

If a given extinguisher is

 40 lbs or less, install it so the top of the canister is no more than 5 ft above the floor

 more than 40 lbs, install it so the top of it is no more than 3.5 ft above the floor

Also, the bottom of an extinguisher must be at least 4 in from the floor. This requirement stops you from placing an extinguisher on a floor as a permanent spot for it.