Extinguishers:  Labels and Tags


Labels that show fire types(s) and operating instructions are provided on the front of every new portable fire extinguisher manufactured today.  As part of the monthly inspection and annual maintenance, extinguishers labels need to be examined.  New labels are needed when problems are discovered.  Here is what you need to know to make sure every extinguisher in service has code-compliant labels.


Label Requirements


Underwriters Laboratories performance standards (such as UL299) require manufacturers to install pictographic operating instructions and pictographic fire classes on new extinguishers.  Previously extinguishers had A, B, C, and D labels.  Most people do not know what the letters mean which can be problematic during an emergency.  A study showed many people took too long to read and understand the old-style operating instructions, whereas the picture labels are much easier to grasp and understand.


How Labels get Damaged

Nothing lasts forever, including emergency labels.  Fading can occur due to many environmental conditions, and labels can get scraped and torn in work areas which can affect their readability.  Therefore, any extinguisher with an impaired label needs a new one.  Care must be taken not to remove the label with the listing mark which identifies the type of extinguisher it is.  Please call our office for questions or problems with labels.


Installing New Labels

NFPA 10 Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers requires these labels to be examined monthly as well as at the time of annual maintenance.  Where faded, damaged, or missing labels are identified they must be replaced and if needed a type of tag better conducive to the environment can be made available.  Please see our tab for Extinguishers to see the types of fires and extinguishers.