When to use each kind of fire extinguisher

There are multiple different kinds of fire extinguishers; each specialised to deal with a different class of fire. Different classes of fire require a different method to extinguished, some require smothering to remove oxygen, and some require the removal of heat. Here’s a quick guide to understanding when you should use each fire extinguisher.

Water Extinguishers

W9 Water Fire ExtinguisherColour Bar: Red
Suitable for: Class A Fires

Water fire extinguishers are suitable for class A fires only. Class A fires consist of organic, solid materials such as paper, cloth, plastics, wood, coal, etc. The water fire extinguisher has a cooling effect on the fire’s fuel and reduces the fire until extinguished.

Not suitable for: electrical fires, flammable liquid or gas fires, although there are now types that are suitable for incidental electrical risk –check the label.

 

Foamspray Extinguisher

F9Colour Bar: Cream
Suitable for: Class A and Class B

Foam extinguishers are suitable or both class A and class B fires. Class A fires consist of organic, solid materials such as paper, cloth, plastics, wood, coal, etc. Class B fires are caused by flammable liquids with an ignition temperature below 100 °C such as, petrol, alcohol, solvents and paints.

 Not suitable for: Gas, electrical risks or deep fat fires, although many modern types are safe with incidental electrical risks – check the label.

 

 Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher

CO2Colour Bar: Black
Suitable for: Class B

Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers suffocate the fire by removing oxygen. These extinguishers work on Class B Fires, as well as electrical fires. Since CO2 extinguishers don’t remove heat, care should be taken to ensure that the fire does not re-ignite. Care should also be taken when using CO2 in a confined space, as it displaces oxygen and can asphyxiate the operator and other users.

Not suitable for: deep fat fires, gas fires

 

 

Dry Powder Extinguisher

DP4Colour Bar: Blue
Suitable for: Class A / Class B

Dry Powder Extinguishers are best used on liquid fires, such as oil and petrol. Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers do not remove heat from the fire, they smother it to remove oxygen, so take care to ensure that the fire does not re-ignite.

Not suitable for: deep fat fires, gas fires

 

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher

F classColour Bar: Yellow
Suitable for: Class A / Class F

Wet Chemical Extinguishers are specially developed for oil and animal fat fires (Class F). They cool the fire down and create a foam barrier between fuel and oxygen.

Not suitable for: gas fires. Many models are now safe on incidental electrical risks.

 

Contact us to discuss your fire extinguisher requirements.

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