A fire extinguisher
or simply an extinguisher
, is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations. It is not intended for use on an out-of-control fire, such as one which has reached the ceiling, endangers the user (i.e., no escape route, smoke, explosion hazard, etc.), or otherwise requires the expertise of a fire department. Typically, a fire extinguisher consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire.
In the United States, fire extinguishers, in all buildings other than houses, are generally required to be serviced and inspected by a Fire Protection service company at least annually. Some jurisdictions require more frequent service for fire extinguishers. The servicer places a tag on the extinguisher to indicate the type of service performed annual inspection, recharge, 6 or 12 year service or a new fire extinguisher.