A fire extinguisher is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations. Fire extinguishers are an integral part of the safety provisions for any building and it is important that the correct type of fire extinguisher is installed and maintained. There are several types of fire extinguishers designed to tackle fire created by various fuels and they are listed below alongside their designed purpose:
- ABC Powder Fire Extinguishers – Powder fire extinguishers are identified with a blue label and are ideal for use in mixed risk environments and offer all round fire protection. Powder fire extinguishers are suitable to extinguish A, B and C classified fires which are fires involving wood/paper, flammable liquids, electrical fires and also flammable metals. Powder fire extinguishers are ineffective against fires caused by cooking oils.
- Foam Fire Extinguishers – Foam fire extinguishers are identified with a cream label. Foam fire extinguishers are suitable for fires classified as A and B and are ideal for use on fire involving solid combustible materials and highly effective on flammable liquid fires. The layer of foam applied by these extinguishers helps to prevent re-ignition after the fire has been extinguished.
- CO2 Fire Extinguishers – Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are identified with a black label. CO2 fire extinguishers are suitable for use on flammable liquid fires and are extremely effective at extinguishing fire involving electrical equipment. CO2 is one of the cleanest extinguisher agents and leaves no residue behind, which makes the CO2 fire extinguisher ideal for use in architecturally sensitive environments and also areas where hygiene is paramount.
- Water Fire Extinguishers - Water fire extinguishers are identified with a red label. Water extinguishers suitable for use in environments containing solid combustible, free burning materials such as wood, paper and textiles. Water conducts electricity making a water fire extinguisher unsuitable for use around electrical equipment.
- Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers – Wet chemical fire extinguishers are identified with a yellow label and have a unique class F rating making them suitable for extinguishing large burning oil fires. This makes wet chemical fire extinguishers ideal for use in the kitchen environment.
Whilst it is critically important that the correct type of fire extinguisher is used, storing a fire extinguisher somewhere that is easily identifiable and secure is important to ensure the fire extinguisher can be identified and used in an emergency situation. Fire extinguisher stands and fire extinguisher cabinets are available to ensure fire extinguishers are stored in a suitable location.