DOT Standards for Fire Extinguishers

The United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates what items trucks transport and how they transport them, for the safety of everyone on the road. The FMCSA’s Shippers General Requirements, Packaging and Exceptions rules and regulations include Part 173.309: Fire Extinguishers and Part 393.95: Emergency Equipment on all Power Units. [/box]

Federal DOT Standards
Each fire extinguisher must have a gauge to indicate if the extinguisher is fully charged and must have a label showing its Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) rating. The fire extinguisher must be attached securely and readily available and accessible for use at all times. Two fire extinguishers must have a UL rating of 4 B:C or more, or one extinguisher must have a UL rating of 10 B:C if carrying hazardous material.

State DOT Regulations
Check the requirements of your state as all states have different DOT requirements. Georgia requires all commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,001 pounds to have a fire extinguisher installed. New York preforms roadside inspections and checks commercial vehicles for emergency equipment items such as spare fuses, emergency warning devices and fire extinguishers.

Contents and Testing
The contents of a fire extinguisher cannot contain any poisonous, corrosive or flammable materials. It must also contain agents that prevents it from freezing. Each fire extinguisher must be tested at least once a year. It must have the actual date of inspection marked on the label with “MEETS DOT REQUIREMENTS” to show it meets requirements for use.

Violating the fire extinguisher regulation of the DOT can result in harsh penalties and fines. The DOT can hold the vehicle until the violation is fixed. This can result in late shipment of a delivery. It can also uncover other violations.

Federal laws state that every commercial vehicle must be equipped with a fire extinguisher. Commercial vehicles includes a school bus, tractor trailer, and any truck hauling hazardous material. Tow trucks are not required to have a fire extinguisher, but they are recommended.