Check out our fire extinguisher guide to make sure that you use the correct type of extinguisher for your fire. Here’s a quick, idiot-proof guide to the different types of fire extinguishers and when to use them.
Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers
Also known as the CO2 extinguisher, this is the perfect extinguisher to tackle fires which involve electrical equipment. This is the safest and most-effective method of putting out the flames to prevent electrocution and limiting the damage a fire can cause, which is particularly useful for server rooms and computer equipment.
Water Fire Extinguishers
The oldest method of extinguishing a fire. These are full of water (you’d never have guessed would you) and perfect for putting out Type A fires. This includes burning wood, textiles, fabrics and paper. Water extinguishers should definitely not be used on any type of electrical fire.
Water Additive Fire Extinguishers
These are full of water and then some. Water additive extinguishers contain water with a soapy consistency and are perfect for the office, hotel, shop etc. A water additive fire extinguisher tends to go further than an ordinary water extinguisher as, for example, a 6 litre additive extinguisher would be the equivalent of a 9 litre water extinguisher.
Foam Fire Extinguishers
Also known as AFFF, these are popular fire extinguishers which are water based, however the foam seals the fire with a foam film. They can be used on Class A fires (wood, textiles, fabrics, paper etc) as well as fires involving diesel, petrol, oils and other flammable liquids.
Powder Fire Extinguishers
These extinguishers work by coating whatever is fuelling the fire with a solid substance, this stops the oxygen from fuelling the fire and stops it in its tracks. There are a few variations of powder extinguisher.
The most common being the ABC powder extinguisher. It can be used to put out class A, B and C fires. It is popular due to its versatility, however it is not usually recommended for indoor use. According to British Standard 53056-8:2012 the discharge of powder extinguishers can cause a sudden impairment of vision and breathing- so it not suitable for shops and offices. Powder extinguishers are recommended for areas of multiple risks like vehicles and workshops.
BC-This powder extinguisher covers all fires except class A.
Metal Powder Fire Extinguishers – are used mostly in laboratories. The powder settles onto the fire to prevent it from spreading.
The L2- This is particularly suited to metal fires (like Magnesium), while the M28 covers the majority of metal fires, except lithium
Monnex powder extinguisher- This is the most powerful powder extinguisher available. It uses a potassium-urea base that combats liquid and gas fires. It is ideal for high-risk industrial areas.
Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers
Wet chemical are the only extinguishers which are safe to use on cooking oil and deep fat fryer fires but they also work on class A (wood, cloth etc) and class B (flammable liquid) fires. This makes them particularly suitable in commercial kitchens. The extinguisher discharges a large soapy layer that forms a barrier and prevents the fire from spreading. The design of the applicator means you can do this from a reasonable distance. It is extremely dangerous to use any other type of fire extinguisher on a deep fat fryer or equivalent.
So there you have it, the quick and easy guide to the different types of fire extinguisher and the types of fire they are suitable for. Make sure that you have the most suitable extinguishers handy in your home or place of work at all times.
Our extinguishers are available with the traditional red cylinders, as well as designer ranges in chrome, gold and copper.