classes of fire extinguisher

How to Select the Best Classes of Fire Extinguishers in Easy Steps

In everyday life, we may encounter small fires at home or office. In case of such happening look for a kind of fire protection to control such kind of emergencies.

We are not unaware of your search for the choice of the best fire extinguisher to confirm your security and safety.

Besides, you may also search for the right class of fire extinguishers to choose from. To help you get answers to all such queries, we have a complete guide.

Please read it all to explore more.

Let’s crack it together.

What are the fire extinguishers?

In very simple words fire extinguisher is an active device for fire protection that is used to control or extinguish a small fire in emergencies. This device is not designed for use on a fire that has reached the ceiling chat; it can control small fires with a lot of ease.

Generally, a fire extinguisher has a cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent that can be discharged to control a fire.

Classes of Fire Extinguishers

You cannot use a single fire extinguisher to tackle every kind of fire. That is why fire extinguishers are manufactured in many classes that can control specific fires.

The use of a specific class of fire extinguishers depends upon the presence of material in the area you are going to protect from fire. Fire extinguishers can be divided into six different classes based on different substances.

  • Class A fires, combustible carbon-based solids such as paper, textiles, or wood
  • Class B fires, flammable liquids such as oil (any oil other than cooking oil), paraffin, petrol, and diesel
  • Class C fires, flammable gases, such as methane, propane, or butane
  • Class D fires, burning metals, such as lithium aluminum, or magnesium
  • Fires caused by any of the electrical equipment (this class is indicated by an electric spark symbol and not the alphabet E)
  • Class F fires, cooking oils and fats

Main Types of Fire Extinguishers

When we talk about the main types of fire extinguishers, they are classified into five main types. They include:

  • Foam extinguishers
  • Wet Chemical extinguishers
  • Carbon Dioxide extinguishers (‘CO2’)
  • Dry Powder extinguishers – standard or specialist
  • Water, water mist, or water spray fire extinguishers

Foam extinguishers (Labelled Cream)

A foam extinguisher can easily extinguish solids and liquids (Class A and B), but it cannot cater well to the cooking oils and fats (Class F). You can also use them for electrical fires only if they are fired from a distance of one meter. Reluctantly they leave a kind of residue that needs to be cleaned up later.

Wet Chemical extinguishers (Labelled Yellow)

Wet Chemical extinguishers are the only type of fire extinguishers other than water mist fire extinguishers suitable for Class F fires (fats, cooking oils). They are mainly used in kitchens having deep fat fryers. You can also use them on Class A and sometimes on Class B fires. They contain a pressurized solution of some alkali salts in water. Such fire extinguishers, when operated, create a fine mist that acts to cool the flames and prevent splashing.

Carbon Dioxide extinguishers (CO2) (Labelled Black)

Carbon Dioxide extinguishers contain only pressurized carbon dioxide gas and leave no residue to clean up later. They are the most suitable fire extinguishers for fires involving liquids (Class B) and electrical fires. For instance, large computer equipment, therefore they are so are practical for office use. CO2 does its magic by suffocating the fire, and it does not cause the system to short circuit or cause any damage to the electrical items.

CO2 extinguishers get cold during discharge, and those extinguishers that are not fitted with double-lined and frost-free swivel horns are more likely to cause fingers to freeze to the horn during thing a fire extinguisher. They can also asphyxiate in confined spaces and remain unsuitable for deep fat fryers. The strong jet of extinguisher can carry the fat out of the fryer.

Dry Powder extinguishers (Labelled Blue)

Bun making use of dry powder extinguishers can fight burning gases, liquids, or solids (Classes A, B, and C). On the other hand specialist, powder extinguishers are specifically designed to control type D fires that involve burning combustible metals like aluminum, magnesium, and lithium. They do their job by creating a trust that can smooth fires and stop them from spreading.

A disadvantage of such fire extinguishers is that they can reign fire as it does not have a cooling effect on the fire. To add more, this powder is hazardous if inhaled directly, so try using such extinguishers in a well-ventilated, so not encouraged in homes and offices. This powder can also damage machinery and furnishings and needs more cleaning work after use.

Water, water mist, or water spray fire extinguishers (Labelled Red)

  • Water fire extinguishers

Water fire extinguishers are the easiest ones to maintain variety. To add more, they are the least hazardous type as they only contain water. They can cool the fire by soaking it with water. This can extinguish the flames by absorbing heat from burning materials.

They are mostly found in offices, shops, retail premises, hotels, warehouses, schools, and domestic premises.

  • Water mist extinguishers

When we talk about the water mist extinguishers, they are the latest version of fire extinguishers,

These are incredibly powerful yet smaller devices that can exude an ultra-fine mist of microscopic-sized ‘dry’ demineralized water particles. They are very safe to use and effective for fires of Class A, B, C, and F. They, indeed, make it unnecessary to use more than one type of fire extinguisher in most cases. Some are also suitable for electrical fires on equipment of about 1,000 Volts as that of computers or printers.

  • Water spray fire extinguisher

Water spray fire extinguisher is suitable for fires of plastic cloth paper, coal and wood etc. Using them for oil fat for electrical fires is a big no-no. It is used by pointing its jet at the base of plains and slowly and steadily moves across the fire until it is extinguished. Water spray fire extinguisher comes in 3 and 6-litre water spray cylinders.

Using a fire extinguisher

While using a fire extinguisher, follow the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Pull: Firstly, pull the pin to break the tamper seal of the extinguisher.
  2. Aim: Aim low, pointing the hose or nozzle at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze: Squeeze the handle; it will release the extinguishing agent.
  4. Sweep: Sweep at the base of the fire – the fuel source – until the fire is controlled

Remember that fire extinguishers have expiry dates, check the guide here. Old fire extinguishers have to disposed properly too.

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