Fire Safety Q&A: Where To Place Fire Extinguishers

November 18, 2020

Question: Do fire extinguishers have a specific clearance radius from where they are mounted or located?

Answer from Brad Keyes: NFPA 10-2010 says this about placement of fire extinguishers:

  • Fire extinguishers shall be conspicuously located where they are readily accessible and immediately available in the event of fire.
  • Fire extinguishers shall be located along normal paths of travel, including exits from areas.
  • Fire extinguishers shall not be obstructed or obscured from view.
  • In large rooms and in certain locations where visual obstructions cannot be completely avoided, means shall be provided to indicate the extinguisher location.

So, they must be visible, readily accessible and immediately available. Most authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) will expect at least 36-inches clearance in front of the extinguisher as long as it is still visible. They “borrow” this 36-inch clearance measurement from NFPA 70-2011, Article 110.26 for electrical control panels. As an authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) they are permitted by section of the 2012 Life Safety Code to make this interpretation.

Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs. See the latest posts on our homepage


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