Fire Extinguisher Cabinets

Fire extinguisher cabinets, which are installed on the wall and house the fire extinguisher, not only greatly enhance the visual appearance of your common areas, but also limit the amount of wear-and-tear on the extinguishers. There are many advantages to utilizing these cabinets, but they also come at an additional expense. The decision whether or not to install security cabinets often comes down to the specific needs of a building and the preferences of the Board or property owner.

The Appearance Factor

Since fire extinguishers are legally required to be installed throughout the common areas of your condo association (and almost all commercial properties) they are "wall decorations" that you cannot avoid. The law also requires that extinguishers be installed such that they are in the main path of egress, easy to access and clearly visible. Due to this the fire extinguishers cannot be hidden behind plants or placed in an inconspicuous corner. The entire purpose of having fire extinguishers is so they can be easily located and accessed when needed.

From an interior decorating standpoint, some consider fire extinguishers to be eye sores. Cabinets can help by producing a more uniform, blended and hidden appearance while still meeting all legal requirements. The perceived improvement in appearance is one of the primary reasons that clients elect to install these units.

Theft and Tampering Deterrant

Cabinets also provide an important theft deterrent since access to the fire extinguisher requires a key. (In the case of a fire, the glass on the front face of the cabinet is broken in order to access the extinguisher.) In buildings where theft of the extinguishers is a concern, or where tampering with the extinguishers may be a problem, cabinets are a great solution.

While most cabinets restrict access to the extinguisher with a lock, the extinguisher can still be stolen. By breaking the front glass, simulating the steps that one would take to access the extinguisher in the case of a real fire, the extinguisher can be accessed. In practice, however, people are far less likely to steal or meddle with an extinguisher if they must first damage building property by breaking the cabinet glass. Security cabinets are the best method available to protect your extinguishers from tampering and theft.

Fire extinguisher cabinet with lock Fire extinguisher security cabinet with lock

Avoid the Risk of Falling Extinguishers

Arguably the most beneficial aspect of having your building's extinguishers inside of security cabinets is resident safety. Commercial fire extinguishers installed in condo associations and most commercial properties weigh between 15 and 30 pounds, are made of steel, and are typically installed 3 to 5 feet off of the ground. If a cabinet is not used, the extinguisher is attached to the wall using a hanger. Two common styles of wall hangers are shown below.

Fire extinguisher hook wall hanger Fire extinguisher fork wall hanger

Cabinets eliminate the opportunities for an extinguisher to be "knocked off" the wall. If an extinguisher is bumped by a person passing by, it may fall off the hanger and drop to the floor. Not only will the extinguisher become damaged and may need to be replaced, but the flooring (especially tile) may be damaged. Far more problematic, falling fire extinguishers may land on a resident's foot or cause other injuries. These situations can be avoided with the use of security cabinets.

Accessing the Extinguisher During a Fire

In the case of a fire, the glass or plastic panel on the front face of the cabinet must be broken in order to access the extinguisher. These panels are designed to break relatively easily and shatter into safe pieces that will not cut or otherwise injure the person accessing the extinguisher.

To facilitate the breaking of the glass each cabinet should be equipped with a "hammer" or "breaker bar". (Samples shown below) By striking the glass with the provided device, the pane will shatter and the user can access the fire extinguisher. A hammer or breaker bar comes standard with all security cabinets sold by Connected Fire Safety Services.

Fire extinguisher cabinet hammer Fire extinguisher cabinet breaker bar

Pricing and Options

We can source a wide variety of cabinets to meet your needs. To review the standard models that we keep in stock, and the associated pricing, please refer to our pricing page.

Cabinets and Licensing

Security cabinets are optional and are not required by fire regulations. The use of cabinets does not change the fire extinguisher maintenance requirements for buildings in Chicago, Illinois.

Contact us for help in determining if cabinets are a good option for your building!