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A Simple Guide to Fire Extinguishers

When it comes to portable fire extinguishers there’s quite a choice – some extinguishers use powders and others use water, foam or CO2.

We’ve put together a list of all of common fire extinguishers and their uses.

Each fire extinguisher is slightly different but they are essentially operated the same way.

We install and service all types of fire extinguishers – new and refurbished.  If you’ve any questions or would like a no obligation quote please get in touch on 02392 696 596 or [email protected].

Classes of Fire:

Class A Wood, Paper and Textiles

Class B Flammable liquids

Class C Gases

Class D Metals

Class F Oils and Fats

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Water Fire Extinguishers (A)

The main type of fire extinguisher used to cover Class A risk involving wood, paper and textiles. This extinguisher is used in most business premises. The water extinguisher is usually paired with a CO2 fire extinguisher to ensure most risks are covered in a business environment.

Water extinguishers are not suitable for electrical fires.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguishers (B)

Also known as the electrical fire extinguisher as its main function is to deal with electrical fires. It is essential that all modern offices are fitted with this type of extinguisher to cover the office risks. They can also be used on flammable liquids as they have a B rating.

They should be used in ventilated areas.

Foam Fire Extinguishers (AB)

Used to cover Class A and B fire risks involving wood, paper, textiles and flammable liquids. They are not as popular these days as they are more expensive to maintain. The only advantage of them over water is they are suitable to be used on fires involving flammable liquids.

Foam extinguishers are not suitable for electrical fires or running fires.

AFFF foam is the mainstay of foam extinguishers. This can be used on class A and B risks however if you have alcohol and solvent risks an ATC (Alcohol Tolerant Compound) type foam should be installed.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers (ABC)

Used on Class A, B and C risks. They are very popular as they are suitable for most fire risks. The downside to powder extinguishers is that they do leave a residue and hazy mist behind when used and can damage nearby equipment.

They should not be used in enclosed spaces or escape routes.

There are specialist powder extinguishers for class D risks (metal fires). These types are usually L2 or Monex and only these types are to be used on these types of fires.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers (AF)

Usually only used in restaurant kitchens because they are suitable for fires involving deep fat fryers.

Most Fire Officers insist they are fitted in commercial kitchens (not small office kitchens).

Number required – say a fryer of approximately 50cm x 50cm is used to cook fish or chips. The area of the fryer is 0.25m2 which would mean the premises require two 75F rated wet chemical extinguishers.

If an area is greater than this example it’s recommended that a fixed fire extinguishing system is installed.

Chrome Fire Extinguishers

Used with design and aesthetics in mind. They are becoming ever more popular. They conform to British Standards but not to EN3 due to their colour.