Foam fire extinguishers are the most effective and safest extinguisher to use on fire involving flammable liquids (Class B), and solid combustibles (Class A). Typically, these can be very dangerous fires which are the burning of liquids such as petrol, diesel, paints, oil, solvents, spirits, and a lot else besides.
It isn’t actually the liquid itself which burns, but instead, it’s the vapour which comes off it, and this is where the unique ability of the foam comes in handy.
As well as cooling the flames like a water, it forms a blanket on the surface of burning liquid to create a barrier between the vapour and the air. This effectively then works to smother the fire of oxygen and stops the burning process.
Foams are technically known as AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) fire extinguishers, and not only are they more versatile than a water, but are also lighter to handle.
Just like a water, before you use a foam fire extinguisher, first check that the extinguisher is suitable to be used. But unlike most waters, they are fitted with a special nozzle which makes them safe if sprayed inadvertently on electrical equipment
Additionally, check it is fully charged by looking at the gauge, and ensure the safety pin is not damaged. Most importantly, make sure you can still safely exit if your attempts to put out a fire are unsuccessful.
How To Use A Foam Fire Extinguisher
- With the foam extinguisher on the ground a safe distance from the fire, remove the safety pin and break the tamper seal.
- Aim the hose at the base of the fire with one hand. Don’t aim for the flames, but instead for the base moving the jet across the area of the fire to cover the flammable liquid.
- Holding the lever in your other hand, you then start to slowly squeeze this to discharge the foam. As the fire starts to die down, you can then start to move closer.
- Using the entire contents of the foam fire extinguisher, make sure the fire is fully extinguished to cool down the area to prevent it from re-igniting.