Extinguisher Servicing Terminology


Competent Person

A person with an appropriate qualification and the knowledge, experience and tools to conduct service work.

Commissioning Service

The initial service carried out by the 'Competent Person' during installation of the extinguisher. This is a proposed new amendment to BS5306 part 3.

Basic Service

A service carried out at least once per annum by a Competent Person.

Extended Service

A discharge test and refill carried out by a Competent Person at FIVE yearly intervals to test the correct operation of the extinguisher and internal inspection for corrosion. CO2 and Nu-Swift primary sealed extinguishers are excluded from having extended servicing.

Service Exchange

It is not economically or environmentally viable to conduct five yearly extended servicing at a customers site on dry powder extinguishers. If the extinguisher is suitable for refilling/reconditioning the servicing company will usually exchange the extinguisher with a previously refilled/reconditioned extinguisher.


CO2 extinguishers are high pressure and must undergo a hydraulic test at TEN year intervals. This is rarely cost effective these days and instead these extinguishers tend to replaced with new.

UV degradation

Some makes of extinguisher use plastic for the valve body and it has long been the norm to replace these at TEN year intervals due to the plastic aging through oxidation and exposure to daylight. A proposed new amendment to BS5306 part 3 will require all plastic headcaps to be replaced at FIVE yearly intervals.

Tamper Seal

It is a requirement in BS5306 part 3 to check the pin and to do this the plastic tamper seal needs to be broken and replaced. With 'frangible' plastic pins the whole pin is usually replaced as the OK indicator cannot be replaced on the old pin. This is normally a chargeable routine service part.

Headcap O ring

The headcap is sealed to the body of the extinguisher with an O ring. BS5306 part 3 requires that this is replaced every time the Headcap is removed. This is normally a chargeable routine service part.

Hose/Horn O Ring

The hose or swivel horn on a 2kg CO2 extinguisher is sealed with an O ring. BS5306 part 3 requires that this is replaced every time the hose or horn is removed. This is normally a chargeable routine service part.


An extinguisher that is in a dangerous condition and will be safely decommissioned by the extinguisher technician.

Non maintained

An extinguisher that is unable to be serviced often due to being able to source parts economically for discontinued models.

Responsible Disposal

Extinguisher companies have to demonstrate to the Environment Agency that they are disposing of extinguishers and their contents in an approved manner therefore a cost is levied as in the motor industry with old tyres and engine oil disposal.

ID sign

This is hung above the extinguisher and identifies the Class of fire the extinguisher can be safely used on, protecting the user. It also provides an indication of when an extinguisher has gone missing. These are recommended to be fitted in the Health & Safety Signs & Signals Regulations.

Wall hanging

According to BS5306 part 8 extinguishers weighing more than 4kg should be wall hung at approximately 1 metre from floor to carrying handle, extinguishers weighing less than 4kg can be hung at 1.5 metres.

Alternatively extinguishers can be stood on stands.

Interpreting the information on an extinguisher service label

Next Service Due

Required to be added to labels on extinguishers used on heavy goods vehicles.


Interim inspection of the extinguisher carried out at the customers request and annual 'servicing' of fire blankets.

Basic Service

Extinguisher service carried out at least once per annum.

Extended Service

Five year test discharge and refill of stored pressure and gas cartridge extinguishers (excludes primary sealed and CO2 extinguishers).


Ten year hydraulic test of CO2 extinguishers.


The weight of the extinguisher at time of service - gas cartridge foam and water extinguishers do not need to have the weight recorded as the contents should be measured into a graduated bucket during the service.

Service date

Month and year of service work.

Technician ID

Technicians initials or ID number.

ID number

Unique 'asset' or 'walk' number given to the extinguisher - if requested by the customer.

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