Empty a fire extinguisher recently? Do not toss it into the trash! Fire extinguishers can be refilled, or "recharged." Then you have a fire extinguisher you can reuse, and the metal of the extinguisher will not sit and rust somewhere. Here is how to get your extinguisher recharged/refilled.
Just Water Extinguishers
Extinguishers that are filled with just water for the purpose of putting out wood and paper fires only can be recharged/refilled at almost any fire station. Firefighters know how to refill the water extinguishers and will often refill them for you for either a small fee or free of charge, depending on where you live and the general practice of the firehouse. Since the water has to be filled under pressure, you cannot refill a water extinguisher properly by yourself.
Other Fire Extinguishers
Other types of fire extinguishers may be filled at firehouses, if the firehouses have the chemicals and the equipment. You should call your local fire department to find out if this is a service they offer. If not, you can send your empty extinguisher(s) to a company that refills/recharges them for a small fee. The fee is negligible, considering how much it costs to buy another fire extinguisher of the same size and type.
Some firehouses will trade you an empty fire extinguisher for a full one. The idea is to keep you and your home or business protected while the empty extinguishers are sent out to be recharged. You can make endless exchanges, but since fires do not commonly break out repeatedly in the same building or house, each exchange you make is likely to last several years. Additionally, many firehouses can perform an extinguisher check to make sure yours is adequately full of enough fire-dousing chemical and that the pressure is correct. It is a good program to participate in because then you do not have to wait for your extinguisher to be recharged at the plant you send it to, and you will be protected by the extinguisher you received in exchange for your empty one.
Keep It Checked and Maintained
After you refill/recharge your extinguisher, or trade it for a full one, be sure to keep all of your extinguishers maintained. You can do that by having a fire marshal check them annually and mark them off as maintained. Any time you have a leak in the extinguisher, the marshal will make note and ask that you refill/recharge it, or exchange it for one that is not leaking.