New Fire Extinguisher Law for Healthcare Facilities

Posted on by Greg Palya

A Surface-mounted Fire Extinguisher in a Hospital


If your healthcare facility hasn’t updated to narrower, oval-shaped fire extinguishers, you may be in trouble.

The 2012 edition of NFPA-101 states that fire extinguishers in healthcare, hospitals, ambulatory, long-term care, and senior living facilities must have fire extinguishers that do not protrude 4” or 4 ½“ from the mounted surface.

If your fire extinguishers are located below 38” from the ground, then you’re now limited to 4 ½“ projections.

If your fire extinguishers are located above 38”, you’re now limited to 4” projections.

Most healthcare facilities have 5 and 10 lb. extinguishers; either surface-mounted or cabinet-mounted.

How Hospitals Stay Compliant with a Surface-Mounted Fire Extinguisher

Surface-mounted fire extinguishers are stuck right on the wall, with no exterior cabinet or enclosure:

Surface-mounted fire extinguisher

To combat the new law, healthcare facilities should look into the ONLY fire extinguisher that meets the limited projections:

OVAL Brand fire extinguisher                                                                OVAL Fire Extinguisher, showing dimensions of height and width


You’ll see, the oval-shaped design is how it stays compliant. Similar 5 lb extinguishers have 5-5 ½ “ projections. Similar 10 lb extinguishers have 5 ½ -6“ projections, making them both non-compliant.


How Hospitals Stay Compliant with a Cabinet-Mounted Fire Extinguisher

Now we do see that most hospitals have cabinet-mounted fire extinguishers…but your current setup may not be compliant. Grab a ruler and check it out (hopefully you’re under 4” or 4 ½”)

If it’s not, contact a professional fire safety company. Maybe they can replace the current cabinet, and insert a setup that’s compliant.



I know it’s a short post, but I just wanted to get the word out that there’s a new fire extinguisher rule for healthcare facilities. We get clients all the time that just had a surprise visit from the fire marshal, and we wanted you to be proactive before he comes 🙂

Like your momma always said “it’s better to be safe than sorry”.

Have questions about healthcare fire extinguisher compliance? Please contact us today…we are super nice!


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