Have you ever wondered what the colored plastic strip that goes through the safety pin and around the handle of a fire extinguisher is for? It’s the safety tamper seal that plays a very important role in ensuring that the fire extinguisher is safe and ready to go in the event of a fire.
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Fire extinguisher tamper seals are plastic strips that are 9” to 10“ long and wrap around the safety pin of a fire extinguisher to ensure that the pin doesn’t drop out. Additionally, the tamper seals will have the date of the last service indicating that the fire extinguisher has been serviced.
NFPA 10 and Tamper Seals
Tamper seals need to be designed to ensure the fire extinguisher is properly serviced and ready to be deployed in case of fire. According to the NFPA 10 188.8.131.52 states that if either a non-rechargeable or rechargeable fire extinguisher is found to be missing the tamper seal or the tamper seal is otherwise broken, the fire extinguisher is to be removed and properly inspected and serviced by a licensed professional in which a new tamper seal will be added to the fire extinguisher as required by the NFPA 10. Additionally, every time a fire extinguisher is serviced, the tamper seal is removed, and a new tamper seal is replaced.
Consider reading our other article titled, “What is the NFPA 10? Understanding Portable Fire Extinguisher Safety Requirements”.
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Types of Fire Extinguisher Tamper Seals
There are several different colors and styles and sizes of tamper seals that are approved under the NFPA 10 guidelines. Tamper seals are used by businesses, government agencies and organizations that use fire extinguishers and as a result, rely on approved tamper seals to ensure that they are in accordance with fire safety laws and regulations as well as the safety of those who use the fire extinguishers.
Dated Tamper Seals
Tamper Seals may have the date (year) imprinted on the broad flap end of the tamper seal indicating when the fire extinguisher was last serviced. These are extremely helpful in quickly and easily identifying when the fire extinguisher was last serviced. On the other side of the tamper seal flap, the inspector can write the month it was inspected. While dated tamper seals are extremely useful in quickly identifying the date in which a fire extinguisher was last serviced, they are only useful for the year in which the fire extinguisher was imprinted. A 2019 dated tamper seal is considered out of date on January 1, 2020.
NOTE: Dated tamper seals do not replace the inspection card!
You can click HERE to view dated tamper seals.
Non-Dated Tamper Seals
Non-dated tamper seals have blank tabs on both sides of the tamper seal end. They are designed to allow the inspector to write the date (year/month) on the tamper seal. This allows the tamper seal to be useful year-round, and from year to year.
You can click HERE to view non-dated tamper seals
Custom Tamper Seals
Custom tamper seals are designed to have a logo, or wording of your choice imprinted on one side of the tamper seal flap. This is great for professional fire extinguisher inspectors who service fire extinguishers in public places or in large businesses such as malls, or restaurants. The tamper seal can be used as a means to display their business logo, or to simply provide the location for the inspected the fire extinguisher to be identified. In essence, this could serve as a business card providing a great way for an inspector to advertise and build up a reputation among your community as the “go-to” fire extinguisher inspector.
NOTE: The image used must be at least 300 dpi and have a print area of 0.75” x 0.63”. Online Safety Depot’s custom tamper seals have an initial set up fee of around $280 with a minimum order of 10 packs. There are 1,000 tamper seals per pack.
The image or logo will remain on file so that there is no setup fee on any subsequent future orders.
Tamper Seal Size
Tamper seals are available in Standard, Medium and Large sizes. Depending on your business needs, you will want to select the tamper seal size that best fits the dimensions of the fire extinguishers employed at your business.
Tamper Seal Colors
Tamper seals, dated, non-dated and customized tamper seals are available in the following colors: red, white, black, yellow, blue, green and orange.
Can I Use My Own Zip Tie or Twist Tie for a Tamper Seal?
NO! Using a zip or twist tie can result in wasted time to untwist and remove the tie and could spell the difference between being able to extinguish a fire in its infancy stage versus allowing it to grow in size and be unable to extinguish with the fire extinguisher. When a fire breaks out, it may be literally seconds that determine if the fire can be quickly and effectively extinguished. If you are unable to quickly and effectively remove the zip tie and pull the pin, the zip tie has proven to be a hindrance instead of a quick response mechanism. With so much at stake, always use approved tamper seals on fire extinguishers for the peace of mind of knowing you are prepared should the unthinkable happen.
Does the Color of the Tamper Seal Matter?
The color of the tamper seal doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you have the approved tamper seals on all fire extinguishers, and they have been used properly. Some businesses and organizations will use different colors as a way to track or organize the inspection system within the organization.
Can Dated Tamper Seals Replace Inspection Cards?
No. Because fire extinguishers are inspected regularly, all fire extinguishers need to have an inspection card/tag attached to the fire extinguisher that records the fire extinguisher number or description (year, make and type), service date (year/month), and some inspection cards/tags may include the inspectors name or initials, or the general condition of the fire extinguisher.
Check out all of our Tamper Seals by clicking HERE.