What is a fire extinguisher?
A fire extinguisher is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations. It is not intended for use on an out-of-control fire, such as one which has reached the ceiling, endangers the user or otherwise requires the expertise of a firefighter.
Fire extinguishers come in a wide variety of types — each one designed to put out a different kind of fire.
Class A – Ordinary solid combustibles like wood, cloth, and paper products.
Class B – Flammable liquids and gases. (Paint and petrol)
Class C – Flammable Gases (Butane and methane)
Class D – Flammable metals. (Lithium and potassium)
Class Electrical – Electrical equipment (Computers and generators)
Most fire extinguishers for homes and public spaces are classified as Class ABC fire extinguishers, meaning they’re suitable for putting out wood and paper fires, flammable liquid fires, and electrical fires. ABC fire extinguishers use the dry chemical mono-ammonium phosphate as the extinguishing agent.
Standard dry powder fire extinguishers are also called ‘ABC’ fire extinguishers because they tackle class A, B and C fires, however, they are not recommended for use in enclosed spaces. This is because the powder can be easily inhaled, and also the residue is very difficult to clean up after. ABC powder fire extinguishers can also be used on some electrical fires.
Specialist dry powder fire extinguishers are used for flammable metals. ABC fire extinguisher label colour is blue. ABC dry powder fire extinguisher is used for organic materials such as paper and cardboard, Fabrics and textiles, Wood and coal. Plus, flammable liquids, like paint and petrol, flammable gases, like liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and acetylene, fires involving electrical equipment up to 1000v.
ABC dry powder fire extinguishers cannot be used for fires involving cooking oil, fires involving electrical equipment over 1000v or in enclosed spaces, such as offices or residential properties. ABC dry powder fire extinguisher smothers fires by forming a barrier between the fuel and the source of oxygen. ABC dry powder fire extinguishers should be placed near the source of the fire risk.
CO2 fire extinguishers are normally used for electrical fire risks and are usually the main fire extinguisher type provided in computer server rooms. They also put out Class B fires (flammable liquids, such as paint and petroleum). CO2 fire extinguisher label colour is black. The CO2 fire extinguisher is used for flammable liquids, like paint and petrol, and electrical fires.
Do not use CO2 fire extinguishers for kitchen fires – especially chip-pan fires, combustible materials like paper, wood or textiles and flammable metals. CO2 fire extinguisher suffocates fires by displacing the oxygen the fire needs to burn. Premises with electrical equipment, such as offices, kitchens, construction sites and server rooms are suitable to place the CO2 fire extinguisher.
All work vehicles should also carry a smaller 2kg CO2 fire extinguisher. A CO2 fire extinguisher should be placed near the source of the fire risk and/or near the fire exits.
A simple fire extinguisher training technique to use with families and employees is the PASS method :
Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher.
Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire.
Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.
Do you have any portable fire extinguishers at home or in the car?
Is your fire extinguisher serviceable?
Have you used up a little of your fire extinguisher?
Have you refilled the fire extinguisher after use?
Get your portable fire extinguisher now!
Make sure it is serviced and refilled to ensure it is functioning properly!