A fire extinguisher may contain gas or liquid under pressure. Under certain circumstances the extinguisher may explode.

Risk factors:

(1) defect in manufacture

(2) defect in servicing or maintenance, including removal of safety features

(3) overpressurization of the contents

(4) weakening of the cylinder (corrosion, damage, etc)


Person at risk:

(1) person servicing the extinguisher

(2) person demonstrating the extinguisher

(3) person discharging the extinguisher

(4) person playing around with the extinguisher


Fatal injuries can occur if:

(1) the cylincer fragments and a large piece impacts the person's chest, neck or head

(2) the cylinder becomes a missile and strikes someone

(3) cardiac arrest triggered by the explosion

(4) toxicity of contents

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