Different Types and Their Applications
A variety of fire extinguishers are available in today’s market and selecting the right size and weight depends on the fire safety regulations.
Classification of Fire
• Class A Fires – By combustible materials: paper, fabric, wood, and other flammable solids.
• Class B Fires – By flammable liquids: paint, turpentine, or petrol among others.
• Class C Fires – By flammable gases: methane, butane, or hydrogen among others.
• Class D Fires – By combustible metals: potassium, aluminum, or magnesium among others.
• Class F Fires – By cooking oils: chip-pan fire.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
Water extinguishers are generally applied to class A fire risk. Their cooling effect can cause the burning fuel to burn at a slower rate until flames are entirely extinguished. Their spray nozzles can cover a much greater surface area to put out fire more rapidly. Beware of electrical equipments when using a water extinguisher. Place them by the exit on floors that have been identified for class A fire risk.
Foam extinguishers are used for class B as well as class A fires. When sprayed, the foam expands once it hits the air and blankets the fire. They can create the cooling effect on the burning fuel and become a barrier between the fuel and the flame. They are inappropriate for fires caused by flammable metals, kitchen fires, and electrical equipment.
3. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are ideal for electrical fires. They remove oxygen in the fire, effectively suffocating it of oxygen. They leave no harmful residue and require no cleanup. They can also be used in Class B fires. Place them near the source of fire risk or near electrical appliances and equipment.
4. ABC Powder
ABC powder fire extinguishers are versatile and used on class A, class B, class C, and electrical fires. They include dry monoammonium phosphate powder and act to blanket the fire and suffocate it. But, avoid using them within small rooms, homes, and offices. Use them on garage forecourts, welding and flame cutting businesses and boiler rooms.
5. Water Mist
Water mist fire extinguishers are very useful in class A, class B, class C, class F, and electrical fires. They can create a microscopic mist curtain and reduce the oxygen content and temperature that can fight the fire on a variety of levels.
6. Wet Chemical
Wet Chemical fire extinguishers are designed specifically for use in Class F fires. They can also be used in class A and B. They contain potassium solution that can effectively launch a two-pronged assault on fires. They cool the fire and prevent re-ignition. Place them near the source of the fire risk in commercial kitchens and canteens.
7. Clean Agent
Clean agent fire extinguisher is a type of gaseous fire suppression. It composes of Halon stored in liquid form. When sprayed, it hits the air and converts to the gas form with a very short atmospheric lifetime, making it eco-friendly. It’s non-conductive and leaves no residue, thus safe to use while humans are present.