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Fire Extinguisher: Types, Uses & How to Choose

We have come a long way when it comes to workplace security. To ensure the safety of staff and visitors, many industries tend to stock the necessary safety equipment. Among all the possible safety solutions, fire extinguishers are one of the most important components. 

Undoubtedly, it is important to install fire extinguishers that are most suited for your environment, it is also vital to train the staff on how to use the extinguishers at the first place. 

There are different types of fire extinguishers that work differently. First, understand the types of fire extinguishers available in the market.

No single extinguisher can tackle every type of fire because these are available with different classes. These can be divided into six categories and classes:

Class A: Suited where the fire is caused by combustible carbon-based solids eg paper, wood or textiles.

Class B: Applicable where flammable liquids eg paraffin, petrol, diesel or oil (but not cooking oil) are the cause of the fire.

Class C: For those places where the fire is caused by flammable gases, eg butane, propane or methane.

Class D: Suitable for places where burning of metals, like aluminium, lithium or magnesium are responsible for fire.

Class E: Used where the fire is caused by electrical equipment. 

Class F: Suited where the fire is caused by fats and cooking oils.

There are five main types of fire extinguishers:

  • Water, water mist or water spray
  • Foam
  • Carbon Dioxide 
  • Wet Chemical
  • Dry Powder- standard or specialist

Water-Fire Extinguishers

These are suitable for Class A fire consisting of paper, wood, straw, coal, rubber, solid plastics, soft furnishings, and more. These extinguishers cool fire by soaking it and materials with water. These extinguish flames and absorb heat from burning objects. 

You can use these in shops, offices, retail premises, schools, hotels, warehouses, and domestic premises. These extinguishers are:

  • Simplest
  • Most commonly used
  • Less expensive
  • Easiest to Maintain
  • Least Hazardous (since they only contain water)

Water Mist Extinguishers

These are the newest type of extinguisher and are very powerful but smaller in size. These are safe and effective to use on Class A, B, C, and F fires. Also, these extinguishers can combat fire cases caused by electrical equipment up to 1000 volts.

These devices work by cooling the fire and reducing the oxygen supply. These are recyclable and do not contain any chemicals, and can be sometimes used on D fires also.

Water Spray Fire Extinguishers

These extinguishers are available in three and six liters water spray tanks and are suitable to fire involving organic solid materials such as wood, cloth, paper, plastics or coal. 

They use the jet at the base of the flames and move it constantly and steadily across the fire until extinguished. It creates a fine spray courtesy of high pressure and extinguishes the fire.

Foam Extinguishers

These smoothen the fire in solids and liquids ( Class A, Class B) but not applicable for burning fats or cooking oils. There are a few models of foam extinguishers that can be used on electrical fires. Foam Extinguishers are easy to clean and more expensive than water extinguishers.

Dry Powder Extinguishers

For Class A, B, and C fires that are caused by burning solids, liquids and gases, these extinguishers are the best choice. These are designed to tackle type D fires also. 

They work by the powder forming that smothers the fire and stops it from spreading. These extinguishers are generally less expensive and powerful.

CO2 Extinguishers

These devices contain only pressurized carbon dioxide gas and suitable for use on fires involving burning liquids (Class B), and electrical fires. They do not damage electrical items or initiate short circuits. 

However, CO2 extinguishers get very cold during discharge and are not suitable for deep fat fryers.

Wet Chemical Extinguishers

These extinguishers release water mists and are best suitable for class F fires. These are mainly used in the kitchen both personal and professional. You can also use them on Class A and Class B fires though they are less effective on these fires. These devices consist of a pressurized solution of alkali salts in water and create a fine mist that can cool down flames, and prevent splashing. 

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher?

Though extinguishers come in a number of shapes and sizes, yet all operate in a similar manner. You can use them in four steps named PASS:

P: Pull the Pin

A: Aim at the Base of Fire

S: Squeeze the Operating Handle

S: Sweep from Side to Side

How to Choose a Perfect Fire Extinguisher?

There are different types of fire extinguishers. So, you need to think carefully before tackling any type of fire. 

Remember – safety first! Check whether these can remove the heat and are ideal for fire tackling or not. These should not conduct electricity and can be used on flammable liquids like petrol or solvents.

These are some important aspects that you should know about a fire extinguisher. If you are searching for a good fire extinguisher, you can browse through moglix.com. Here, you can find different types of extinguishers that are available at affordable prices.

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