Fire extinguishers put out all types of fires. There are several different kinds of extinguishers for fire protection. Some put out grease fires, wood fires and electrical fires. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has general requirements (CFR) outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for extinguishing agents to help protect the driver in case of a fire in their motor vehicle. Every state DOT has different standards for fire extinguishers. Always check with your state to make sure you are up to code.
DOT is not the only federal agency with fire extinguisher regulations. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) also has requirements in place in order to keep workers protected. Go to transportation.gov or osha.gov to determine whether your vehicle requires a class a or class b extinguisher.
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 performs 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 or fire extinguisher cannot contain any poisonous, corrosive, combustible, or flammable materials. It must also contain agents that prevents it from freezing. Each fire extinguisher must be tested and taken in for refilling or recharging 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 motor vehicles include a school bus, tractor trailer, truck tractors, and any truck hauling hazardous material (hazmats). Tow trucks are not required to have a fire extinguisher, but they are recommended.