NFPA Requirements For Mounting a Fire Extinguisher

Having access to a fire extinguisher in a fire emergency is critical. You simply can’t afford to be without one, or without knowing how to mount it properly in your house. In this post, we discuss fire extinguisher mounting requirements for your facility.

NFPA Fire Extinguisher Mounting Requirements

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides guidelines for mounting fire extinguishers. Specifically, NFPA 10 – Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers sets the maximum distance a person should travel to reach a fire extinguisher.

This applies to commercial and residential buildings, such as offices or warehouses, and is meant to make fire extinguishers accessible to a person walking through the building. According to the NFPA 1 Fire Code, fire extinguishers are not required to be mounted in 1 or 2 family houses or dwellings.

Walls are considered distance separators and the travel distance around them must be included. Rooms and hallways must have doorways that a person can walk through to access a fire extinguisher.

This table provides more information:

Class Of Fire ExtinguisherMax Foot Travel DistanceNFPA 10 Section Coverage
A75 ft.Table 6.2.1.1
B5 B – 30 ft
10 B Light – 50 ft.
10 B Ordinary – 30 ft.
20 B Ordinary – 50 ft.
40 B Extra – 30 ft.
80 B Extra – 50 ft.
Table 6.3.1.1
CN/A6.4.3
D75 ft.6.5.2
K30 ft.6.6.2
The maximum required distance to travel on foot to a fire extinguisher is 75 feet.
Fire Extinguisher Types

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A person should not be further away than 75 feet in either direction to the nearest fire extinguisher on a floor with a maximum floor area of 11,250 ft2. However, this does not mean that each fire extinguisher should be no further than 150 feet away from another extinguisher within the same room.

Hallway Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers within the same room must be within 75 feet radius without any spaces between them. So, inside a single room, a person will be closer than 75 feet to each fire extinguisher due to overlapping radius. This means that the maximum distance between fire extinguishers within a single, open (no walls) rectangular room is 106 ft.

Outside of the room, a person must travel on foot a maximum distance of 75 ft. into the room to access a fire extinguisher. A person carrying a fire extinguisher should therefore only have to travel a maximum of 150 ft. to extinguish a fire.

Buildings with many walls or other obstructing features will add complexity to measuring the travel distance to the nearest fire extinguisher.

What Is Fire Hazard Occupancy?

Fire hazard occupancy is the level of fire hazard that exists within a certain location due to the quantity of combustibles present.

Fire hazard occupancies are set as the following:

Fire Occupancy Hazard (Fire Load)Quantity of CombustiblesTypes of LocationsHazard Level
LightFew combustiblesSchools, offices, gathering areasLow
OrdinaryAn ordinary or small quantity of combustiblesStorage warehouses, garages, shopsModerate
ExtraLarge quantity of combustiblesWood shops, factories, shipping facilities, auto servicing centersHigh

For more information on floor area and travel distances for each fire extinguisher type, see NFPA 10.

Class a Fire Extinguisher Mounting Requirements

Class A fire extinguishers have an additional floor area requirement. The maximum floor area that a single class A fire extinguisher can cover is directly tied to the extinguisher’s numerical rating and floor hazard occupancy. The maximum floor area for this type is set at 11,250 ft2.

For more information, see tables 6.2.1.1 and 6.3.1.1 in NFPA 10.

The smaller of the required distances between fire extinguishers should be chosen. This is because if each fire extinguisher requires 75 ft. of walking, then the average person may take up to 30 seconds to grab a fire extinguisher when walking 3-4 mph. This time can allow the fire to spread or panic to set in on an occupied floor.

Fire extinguishers rated at 2A or above should be mounted every 3000 sq. ft. or less.

Locations To Mount a Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers need to be located on normal paths of travel, either by foot, bike, or cart. They should be mounted near doorways, exits, and entrances that receive foot traffic.

Evacuees of a burning building should have easy access to a fire extinguisher in case they are trapped. Fire extinguishers need to be mounted in places that are visible and with a sign indicating their location in case they are blocked by an obstruction.

The correct size and type of fire extinguisher need to be placed in locations where that type of fire may break out due to certain fuel sources.

How High To Mount a Fire Extinguisher?

Fire extinguishers can only be mounted between 4 inches and 5 ft. from the ground to the top of the canister. However, fire extinguishers that weigh more than 40 lbs. can only sit a maximum of 3ft. 6 in. off the ground to the top of the canister. If the fire extinguisher is wheeled, it does not require mounting.

Fire extinguishers can also be mounted inside cabinets.

Do You Need Fire Extinguisher Signs?

Yes and No.

Fire extinguisher signs are there to assist people in finding a fire extinguisher. Signs are not required by OSHA but are recommended to make fire extinguishers more readily accessible. However, according to NFPA 10, arrows, signs, or lights must be installed to direct people to a fire extinguisher in case of any type of visual obstruction.

Fire extinguishers should be visible from near and far and from different angles. For instance, they should be visible down a hall, through a doorway, or across a large room. Fire extinguisher signs should also protrude from a wall in case of blockage by an open door or other mobile obstruction. Signs should be durable and corrosion-resistant and be visible in poor lighting, or during blackouts.

Car Fire Extinguisher Mounting Requirements

Fire extinguishers should be mounted in cars, and are covered in NFPA 10 Chapter 6 – Installation of Portable Fire Extinguishers. It states:

6.1.3.7 – “Fire extinguishers installed under conditions where
they are subject to physical damage (e.g., from impact, vibration, the environment) shall be protected against damage.”

6.1.3.6 – “Fire extinguishers installed in vehicles or under other
conditions, where they are subject to dislodgement, shall be
installed in approved strap-type brackets specifically designed
for this application.”

Vehicles are susceptible to fire from different ignition sources (electrical, engine, cigarettes, etc.), and having a fire extinguisher accessible can help prevent excessive destruction in the event of a fire.

In Closing

Fire extinguishers are specific safety tools that have certain NFPA mounting requirements and where they can be located within a building. This is for good reason, as having easy access to a fire extinguisher is one important key to keeping safe during a fire emergency.

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Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium

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