ADA Fire Extinguisher Guidance


ADA Fire Extinguisher Guidance

The Americans with Disabilities Act works to improve the lives of millions of individuals. When it comes to fire safety, ADA has set forth requirements that allow people with visual impairments and wheelchair users to defend themselves when a fire breaks out. When it comes to fire extinguisher placement, wheelchair users and those with limited sight greatly benefit from the requirements around placement and selection of fire extinguisher signs, fire extinguishers, and fire alarm pull stations.


Some of the accessibility rules can be confusing to building owners and facility managers. However, following these rules is not only the law, but can also save lives during emergency situations. Jessup Manufacturing is offering guidance on ADA fire extinguisher placement, as well as fire extinguisher signs and other rules designed to ensure those in wheelchairs and with sight impairments can feel safe within buildings should a fire break out.

Fire Extinguisher Height Requirements

While the ADA does have rules around the placement of protruding objects, there are no official fire extinguisher height requirements.


Proper ADA fire extinguisher height is determined somewhat from the rules surrounding protruding objects. The Department of Justice's 2010 ADA Accessibility Guidelines require objects protruding from a wall to be placed high enough that a visually-impaired person would not bump his or her head on it, but low enough that he or she can detect it with a cane.


At the same time you also need to be up to fire code, which typically requires the extinguishers to be hung at the following:

  • Extinguishers weighing 40 pounds or less: The top no higher than 5 feet and the bottom no lower than 4 inches from the floor
  • Extinguishers weighing more than 40 pounds: The top no higher than 3 1/2 feet and the bottom no lower than 4 inches from the floor


Because ADA offers no specific fire extinguisher height requirements, in order to comply with both fire code and ADA protruding object requirements you should consider the following:

  • Using a recessed cabinet that protrudes no farther than 4 inches when installing the extinguisher in the hazard zone.
  • Using a hook, bracket, or cabinet recessed into the wall to mount the extinguisher
  • Make sure the extinguisher's base is lower than 27 inches in height but higher than 4 inches from the ground with either a cabinet, bracket, or hook.


One thing to consider is that while the ADA permits certain protruding objects, state and local codes may be restrictive. For example, a jurisdiction that has adopted one version of NFPA 101: Life Safety Code can require that hospitals and nursing homes restrict protrusion to a 6-inch maximum and require any protruding object to be placed at minimum 38 inches above the floor.


Fire Extinguisher Sign Requirements


Once your fire extinguisher is placed properly, you will want to make sure it is highly visible. Using a fire extinguisher sign is the best way to help people see where the equipment is. Inspectors will expect to find a noticeable fire extinguisher sign, especially if you are using a cabinet to house your extinguisher.


When it comes to style and location, little rules surround what is required of building owners and employers. Photoluminescent fire extinguisher signs are an excellent option because they self-illuminate during a power outage. Choosing something in bold colors with clear writing  stating “FIRE EXTINGUISHER” is best. Depending on the location, you will want to mount the signs at a certain angle or require multiple signs so the extinguisher is easily visible.  

Shop Fire Extinguisher Signs

Placing your fire extinguisher at the proper height and choosing the appropriate fire extinguisher sign allows people with disabilities to easily access and use the equipment in case of an emergency. If you are looking for fire extinguisher signage, Jessup Manufacturing offers a wide variety of photoluminescent options. Shop our entire selection today.



2022-05-19 05:57:00
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