You hid the small fire extinguisher you got for Christmas under the counter because you thought it was ugly. Now, even though it is still ugly, maybe you are redecorating and it carries an aura of industrial chic. Maybe you worry that you'll have a fire in the kitchen and need it. Or maybe you just want to clean the area under the counter because you need the space. Whatever the reason, you know that you are going to mount your fire extinguisher properly, in the right place, at the right height--but how high is that? The answer comes from the National Fire Protection Association's Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, NFPA-10.
OSHA and the NFPA
OSHA and the Fire Protection Codes of the National Fire Prevention Association spell out where, how, and how high fire extinguishers should be placed. For the homeowner, the choices are often a matter of aesthetics.
The size of the fire extinguisher has a bearing on how high a fire extinguisher should be placed. Smaller extinguishers can be mounted higher, since they are light and can be easily lifted from a high mounting and lowered for use. Larger, heavier extinguishers should be mounted closer to the ground to make them more manageable.
NFPA 10, Standard 184.108.40.206.1: Extinguishers Under 40 Pounds
A fire extinguisher weighing less than 40 pounds, like the extinguishers found in your home, should be hung so that the top is not more than five feet above the ground, but no lower than four inches above the floor, according to the National Fire Protection Association's Standard for portable fire extinguishers, NFPA-10.
NFPA 10, Standard 220.127.116.11.2: Extinguishers Over 40 Pounds
Larger extinguishers, those weighing more than 40 pounds or more, are not found in a home setting very often, except in a workshop. To make them more accessible--by not making the user have to lift them down from too high a mounting bracket--the NFPA Standard dictates that the top of these heavyweights can be no more than 3-1/2 feet from the floor.
NFPA 10, Standard 18.104.22.168.3: Minimum Height Above Floor
No fire extinguisher should ever be mounted less than four inches above the floor.
About the Author
Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.