Sunday, August 15, 2010

Common types of fire extinguishers

If you were to experience a fire situation, what would your first reaction be? Would you grab the nearest water source and throw water at the flames? Would you throw a blanket over the flames? Would you simply run out of the house?

Fire is not a force people want to experience, especially in their home or office. Fire moves quickly to devour everything in its path, holding no regard for valuables of any sort. But while we hold a certain fear of fire, unfortunately only few people take the necessary steps to add the right kind of fire extinguishers to their homes and offices.

Lets look at some common types of fire extinguishers so that you can decide which is the best type for your location.

Water fire extinguishers can be used in homes and businesses, schools, theatres, warehouses or anywhere with paper, cardboard, curtains, cloth, wood, carpet. Many people like the water extinguisher because this type is easy to refill.

However, water fire extinguishers are not suitable to be used as the only extinguisher in the home or office. Water can fight Class A fires, but NOT fires involving electrical equipment.

Powder extinguishers are also very good to have in the home or office. However, the powder extinguisher is also very good for truck drivers or those who enjoy boating. Powder can leave quite a mess when used, but the mess of powder is far less than the destruction a fire would cause.

It is important to look at the certifications when purchasing a powder extinguisher for your home, business, boat or truck. Powder fire extinguishers also require factory refilling or service-exchange every so often. The maintenance is worth it, though, as this type of fire extinguisher is suitable for virtually all areas, able to fight Class A fires (wood, paper, material, cloth, etc), Class B fires (flammable liquids such as petrol, spirits, and diesel), Class C fires (flammable gas) and electrical equipment fires.

Foam fire extinguishers (a.k.a. AFFF) are quite popular for their advanced capabilities. Aqueous Film Forming Foam or AFFF (pronounced A-triple-F) covers Class A fires (wood, paper, material, cloth, etc) and Class B (flammable liquids such as petrol, spirits, diesel).

While the AFFF foam spray versions are fitted with a special nozzle that reduces the electrical risk (tested to 35,000 volts), it is recommended that this NOT be sprayed directly on live electrical equipment. The foam extinguisher works well in homes and offices; hotels, and places where there is a risk of flammable liquids.

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers will cover electrical fires as well as Class B fires involving flammable liquids. The Carbon dioxide extinguisher would be one that you reach for if you work on machinery that catches fire.

While this is a reliable and popular fire extinguisher, the Carbon dioxide fire extinguisher doesn’t cover all types of fires. This extinguisher would need to be paired with a Class A extinguisher (AFFF or water type) in order to provide full coverage.

Disclosure: This is an original article contributed by Fire Protection Online Ltd exclusively for this website only.


F.Rai said... Reply To This Comment

Please practice with everyone you love. It is easy and important. Learn what to when you are visiting friends or on vacation.

Unknown said... Reply To This Comment

Thanks for this classification. Many home owners and businesses usually have some sort of legacy Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher around. But it is important to make sure you have the correct fire extinguisher for the potential type of fire that may arise in each specific area. Not only this that they are fully functional and working!

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