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What is a Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher?

8th Aug 2023

Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

Fire safety is for everyone - whether it's at home, a hotel, a commercial building, a school or an industrial facility. As part of a comprehensive fire protection strategy, understanding the different types of fire extinguishers available, how they work, and their applications is essential. Among the many extinguishers available is the dry powder fire extinguisher, often described as the 'multi-purpose' extinguisher due to its versatile range of use.

So, what is a dry powder fire extinguisher?

A dry powder fire extinguisher, also known as an ABC fire extinguisher, is among the most common type of fire extinguisher. The term 'ABC' signifies its range of use, as it is effective against Class A (solid combustibles), Class B (flammable liquids), and Class C (electrical) fires. These extinguishers work by releasing a fine powder. As the powder settles, it coats the fuel with a non-flammable layer creating a barrier from the surrounding oxygen.

 Where to use these multi-purpose fire extinguishers?

Dry powder fire extinguishers are ideal for mixed risk environments where fire can start from different sources. Think of places like commercial kitchens, garages, and warehouses where various types of materials are present, but beware, powder extinguishers should be avoided in enclosed spaces. The powder, when inhaled, can be harmful. It's also worth noting that while these extinguishers are exceptionally versatile, they don’t work on Class F (cooking oils and fats) and Class D (metals) fires. Also, remember that using a dry powder extinguisher can leave a residue that can damage some electronics or delicate equipment. So, if you are in an environment with sensitive machinery, opt for a CO2 or clean agent extinguisher instead.


Having a fire extinguisher is only one part of a comprehensive fire safety plan. It's also crucial to ensure regular maintenance. In accordance with UK standards, your dry powder extinguisher should be inspected by a competent person every year and given an extended service every five years.

Right Tools for the Job

In summary, dry powder fire extinguishers are a versatile, practical option for a variety of settings. However, it's important to understand their limitations and to ensure they are used appropriately. Remember - the best fire safety strategy is one that is tailored to the specific needs and risks of your environment.

Always make fire prevention a priority. Maintain your equipment well, and ensure everyone knows how to use the extinguishers properly. With the right knowledge and tools in hand, you can be confident in your ability to deal with fire promptly and effectively.  


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