When you add fire extinguishers to your business, you have a few options for how to secure them. You don't want to leave them loose, such as sitting inside a base cabinet, because those can easily get moved around. For example, if you're cleaning out the cabinet, move the extinguisher to another room, and forget to return it to its original spot. Instead, securing it in a bracket or cabinet is better, and a cabinet may be best of all. But each type of storage has advantages, so you need to look at why you might want the extinguisher closed up or easily gotten before you make a decision.

Yes, Locked: Prevent Theft

A cabinet mounted to the wall, with a locked glass or plastic door, is the most secure option. This is the option you want if fire extinguishers have a habit of "walking away" unexpectedly (in other words, if people steal them). The front should be easy to break with an included hammer or rod that is chained to the cabinet. Accessing the extinguisher shouldn't be difficult if people know what to do, so it's best to hold trainings both on how to use the fire extinguisher and how to open the cabinet.

Not Locked, but Enclosed: Avoid Chemical Spills

If theft isn't a problem, you may still want the extinguisher kept in a cabinet. This enclosure protects the extinguisher from chemical spills that could make the extinguisher dangerous to use. For example, if something spills on the extinguisher that is dangerous to touch with your bare hands, you have to find appropriate gloves before you can use the extinguisher on a fire. If the spill ends up on the cabinet, though, it's easier to quickly open the cabinet door (protecting your hands with something) and then grab the clean extinguisher.

Open: Ease of Access in an Emergency

One argument in favor of having the fire extinguisher held in a bracket with no cabinet enclosure is that people rushing in an emergency won't have to worry about breaking glass or getting a cabinet door open. You wouldn't think that would be such an issue when people are properly trained, but the person getting the extinguisher could be a visitor to the building, for example, who doesn't have training.

Fire extinguisher equipment, including cabinets and brackets, should be easy to install but also needs to be secure. You'll want strong brackets and cabinets that can withstand being hit if something collides with them, such as a lab cart. If you're having your building interior redone, have the construction crew install the brackets and cabinets that you need.