PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
A portable fire extinguisher is an item of equipment for the purpose of extinguishing a fire. However, a portable fire extinguisher is effective only for the type and size of a fire that it is rated for.
Portable fire extinguishers are generally provided as “first attack” units in fire-fighting and should be used only in early stages of fire before the fire grows to a stage that is beyond the capacity of the extinguisher.
The proper use of portable fire extinguishers can extinguish many fires while they are still small. You should be aware, however, that your local fire department should be notified without delay as soon as any fire is discovered.
These portable fire extinguishers are an important part of an overall fire safety program. It is important to keep in mind that the successful use of portable fire extinguishers depends on the following:
- The portable fire extinguishers are properly located and in working order.
- The portable fire extinguishers are of the correct type.
- The fire is discovered while still small enough for use of the portable fire extinguishers to be effective.
- The fire is discovered by persons who are ready, willing, and able to use the portable fire extinguishers.
HOW TO USE PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
When used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property. Portable fire extinguishers, intended for your home or business, are not designed to fight large or spreading fires.
CLASSIFICATION OF FIRES
Fires are classified according to the type of fuel and if live electrical equipment is present. The classification of a fire is important, as it influences the selection and use of the correct extinguisher required to extinguish a fire.
- Class A: Ordinary combustibles (such as paper, cloth, wood or plastic)
- Class B: Flammable liquids (such as paint, petroleum oil, propane, butane or gasoline)
- Class C: Energized electrical equipment (such as kitchen appliances, transformers or motors)
- Class D: Combustible metals (such as magnesium, sodium, potassium or aluminium)
- Class E – Electrically energised equipment
- Class F – Cooking oils (such as vegetable fats, animal fats, greases or other cooking oils)
Sometimes the same fire extinguishing agent can be used on several different fire classes, but be sure to read the warnings and consult a knowledgeable fire safety professional first.
In some cases, using one type of extinguisher on the wrong class of fire could actually help the fire spread and become more powerful.
TYPES OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Fire extinguishers are available in different types with each one having specific fire classes that they are suitable for use on:
- Water fire extinguishers have a class A rating and are suitable for fighting fires involving solid combustibles such as wood, paper and textiles.
- Electrical equipment should be avoided when using a water extinguisher (unless water with additive are used) because water is a conductor.
- Fire extinguishers are highly effective on class A and class B fires (the foam agent helps to prevent re-ignition
- Some foam extinguishers have been di-electrically tested to 35000 Volt (35kV) and can be used on or near electrical appliances.
- Wet chemical:
- Wet Chemical fire extinguishers are designed specifically for use on fires involving combustible cooking media such as burning oil and fat.
- They have a class F rating and a special lance applicator nozzle.
- Carbon dioxide (C02):
- CO2 fire extinguishers were originally designed for use on flammable liquid fires and therefore have a class B fire rating.
- They are ideal for electrical fires, as CO2 is not a conductor and they do not leave behind any harmful residue.
- Water mist:
- Water mist fire extinguishers are highly effective on class A, B, C, F and electrical fires.
- The unique design of the water mist extinguishers’ supersonic nozzle creates a microscopic mist curtain, reducing the oxygen content.
- Water mist extinguishers are also safe on fires caused by electricity, as the water mist does not conduct electricity and the water mist does not form puddles which could lead to electrocution.
- Dry powder:
- ABC powder fire extinguishers are extremely versatile and can be used on class A, class B, class C and electrical fires.
- However, there is a risk of inhalation when using powder extinguishers indoors. Powder fire extinguishers are therefore not recommended for use within small rooms, homes and offices.
At AITO Firework Sdn Bhd, we do sell fire extinguishers among an extensive range of fire safety equipment. In addition, we offer education and training to help you, your organisation or your business to operate the equipment effectively. To inquire further, contact our friendly team today at 03 – 7831 4791.