During a fire emergency, you need to depend on your fire extinguisher to work without issue. Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers require maintenance to make sure they work if there is smoke or fire.

You regularly replace batteries in your smoke alarms and test them to confirm they’re in good working order. With a fire extinguisher, it’s critical to keep up with regular inspections to make sure it’s ready to help subdue a fire in an emergency.

Have you seen the metal plates on fire extinguishers? They tell you about the condition of your extinguisher. Here’s a little more about the importance of fire extinguisher plates.

What’s On the Plate?

Commercial buildings and businesses must follow regulations for a specific number of extinguishers in the building and the location of each extinguisher. Building owners must also follow federally mandated rules for extinguisher inspections.

A fire extinguisher’s plate is a visual record of its shelf life. It contains critical information about regular inspections performed by a professional with a fire extinguisher inspection certification. Each plate can include:

  • Type of extinguisher
  • Company name
  • Fire extinguisher number
  • The ID of the inspector
  • Inspection date log

Using a metal plate helps preserve the most critical lifetime information for your extinguisher.

Why Do Inspections Matter?

Fire extinguishers can go “bad” or stop working. The contents of an extinguisher are under pressure. At the first sign of a fire, you need to know your extinguisher will work as designed when you press that button.

OSHA requires regular inspections (and documentation of those inspections) for every workplace. The plates on each canister help you keep track of those inspections, so you have confidence in your extinguishers if you need them.

Your plates need to record monthly visual inspections, annual maintenance, and six-year maintenance for dry chemical type extinguishers

Make sure your extinguishers stay up to date for all inspections and documentation. During an inspection, the canister’s plates offer quick reference about its condition.

Why Use a Metal Plate?

While paper plates give you space for more detailed information, metal plates can record confirmation of the monthly inspections plus the canister’s identifying information. Most extinguishers have a combination of paper and metal plates for thorough documentation.

Your fire extinguishers need a durable plate to stick around for the life of the canister. Metal plates offer that durability to make it through regular inspections and maintenance. Paper tags can become detached from the canister while a metal plate attaches to the canister for the long haul.


During inspections, fire extinguishers get handled, bumped, and tested. Metal fire extinguisher plates withstand every inspection and last for the lifetime of each canister. Fire hydrants are also important to properly mark and identify.