The Types of Fire Extinguishers and Where They Should Be Used

Published: 30th April 2010
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There are several types of fire extinguishers available on the market today. This is a guide to the types of fire extinguishers available and also which types of fires they should be used to tackle which particular fires.



Water Fire Extinguisher



Water Fire Extinguishers are commonly available on the market and are the type of extinguisher that people will see most often whilst going about their daily business. Water fire extinguishers are available in a variety of sizes with the 6 litre and 9 litre version being the most popular. A water fire extinguisher should be used to tackle category A fires. A category A fire is a flammable solid fire. So for example a water fire extinguisher would be suitable to extinguish a wood fire. Depending on the size of extinguisher, they have different fire ratings. An extinguisher should be positioned with the appropriate fire rating, given the risk of possible fires around the area where it is installed. Water fire extinguishers should NOT be used on electrical fires.



Foam Fire Extinguisher



Foam Fire Extinguishers are also widely available in today's market. There are commonly two types of foam fire extinguishers available. These different types of foam fire extinguishers available. These are AFFF, FP, FFFP, AR and EF, with the AFFF variant being the most commonly used. Foam fire extinguishers are available in a variety of sizes and fire ratings again with 6 litre and 9 litre being the most popular. Foam fire extinguishers are suitable for use on Class A and Class B fires. This means that they are suitable for Flammable Solid and Flammable Liquid fires. Again the extinguishers should be sized and positioned in accordance with the fire risk in the surrounding area. Foam fire extinguishers should NOT be used on electrical fires.



Powder Fire Extinguishers



Powder Fire Extinguishers are found in a variety of modern buildings. The powder fire extinguisher found most often is the ABC Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher. This type of extinguisher is again available in a variety of sizes and fire ratings with 6 Kg and 9 Kg being the most common. ABC Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers are suitable for use on Category A, B, C and Electrical Fires. This means they are suitable for flammable solid fires, flammable liquid fires, flammable gas fires and electrical fires. As before the extinguishers should be sized and positioned in accordance with the fire risk in the surrounding area.



Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguisher



Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers are not quite as common as the water and foam fire extinguishers, however they do have their particular areas where they are very effective. They are commonly seen in 2Kg and 5Kg versions and are often seen near to electrical equipment. Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers are capable of being used on category B and electrical fires. They are mainly seen for use on electrical equipment fires as the carbon dioxide gas will reduce the risk of electrocution of the person tackling the fire. Whereas a water or foam extinguisher will conduct the electricity and put the person tackling the fire at great risk. They can also be used on flammable liquid fires. Carbon Dioxide extinguishers should be positioned and sized according to the fire risk in the surrounding area.

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