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Portable Fire Extinguishers (PFEs)

UTK Environmental Health & Safety Program

This program describes the portable fire extinguisher program at UTK and UTIA.

Effective Date: 01/01/2009
Revision Date: 03/30/2016

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Purpose, Applicability and Scope

The University of Tennessee provides and maintains portable fire extinguishers in all facilities for use in the event of a fire. The extinguishers, as well as their installation and maintenance, must meet requirements found in National Fire Protection Association standard number 10.

This standard applies to all buildings under the control of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and to buildings on the UTIA campus.


EHS – Environmental Health and Safety

PFE – Portable Fire Extinguisher


EHS shall:

  1. Be responsible for the overall management of the pfe at or on UT property including, but not limited to purchase, installation, inspection, keep records, contracting licensed vendors for the purpose of service, and designating number and location of installation of all extinguishers.

In some cases the inspection process has been delegated to departments.

Employees shall:

  1. Attend training, whether traditional classroom or online.
  2. Use PFEs for incipient stage fires when safe to do so
  3. Report any problem with PFEs.
  4. Not block, obstruct, hide, relocated or otherwise disable PFEs.


A.    Selection and Installation

  1. Extinguishers must be of the type required for the class of fire anticipated in the area
  2. Extinguishers must be kept in their designated place when not in actual If it is necessary to permanently move or block a pfe, please contact EHS.
  3. Extinguishers removed from service will be replaced with an extinguisher that meets or exceeds code requirements
  4. Maximum travel distance to extinguishers must not exceed 75 feet in any direction or 50 feet where flammable liquids are present.
  5. All extinguishers will be located so they are readily available when needed.
  6. Cabinets housing fire extinguishers must not be locked except where malicious use of the extinguisher is Cabinets locked for this reason must include means of emergency access.
  7. Extinguishers must be installed as follows:
    1. Extinguishers less than or equal to 40 pounds in weight must be installed so that the top of the extinguisher is not more than five feet (60 inches) above the floor.
    2. Extinguishers more than 40 pounds (except wheeled type) must be installed so the top of the extinguisher is not more than three and one half feet (42 inches) above the floor.
    3. In no instance will the bottom of the extinguisher be less than 4 inches above the floor.
  8. Every attempt will be made to make ABC (multi-purpose) dry chemical extinguishers standards on cam However, it is recognized that other types (e.g. type K for kitchens) will also be installed.

B.   Maintenance and Inspection

  1. Fire extinguishers shall be inspected monthly and a record maintained by EHS. In some cases the inspection shall be performed quarter The record shall consist of punching the inspection tag and in the inspector’s record sheet.
  1. Extinguishers must be subjected to “annual certifications” not more than one year apart. The extinguisher’s seal (color or year) shall indicated completion of the annual certification.
  1. Each extinguisher must have a tag or label attached that indicates the month and year the last annual certification was performed, the identification of the person performing the certification, and whether any service was performed.
  1. An inspection form has been developed (Appendix A) for those departments or individuals who wish to conduct their own monthly inspection. EHS shall provide guidance on fire extinguisher inspection.


All staff shall be trained on portable fire extinguisher use during orientation and annually thereafter. Training may be completed online or in person.  EHS is available to assist departments in this effort.


EHS shall maintain records of monthly extinguisher inspection and an inventory of extinguishers. These records shall be kept at least three years.

Departments shall be responsible for maintaining records of the employee training. Note that training records may be kept in the events management section of IRIS.





The information provided in this program is designed for educational use only and is not a substitute for specific training or experience.

The University of Tennessee Knoxville and the authors of this program assume no liability for any individual’s use of or reliance upon any material contained or referenced herein. The material contained in this program may not be the most current.

This material may be freely distributed for nonprofit educational use. However, if included in publications, written or electronic, attributions must be made to the author. Commercial use of this material is prohibited without express written permission from the author.

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