16 Oct How to choose and use a Fire Extinguisher
There are different ways to fight the fire in your house or building. The fire extinguisher is one of those and it is one of the most relevant fire equipment. It allows us to intervene in a few minutes on fire and put out the first flames.
The presence of a fire extinguisher is a must in all workplaces for safety reasons in case of fire. There are different types of extinguishers, each using a different method of extinguishing fires.
Depending on the type of fire that starts in your workplace, you will need to use a different extinguisher. In this article, we’ll walk you through the types of fire extinguishers that are best suited to your work environment.
What are the different types of fire extinguishers?
To choose the right extinguisher, you must first know the risks that exist in your establishment or home. They are divided into several “classes”:
- Fire class A: solids that do not liquefy. This category includes, for example, packaging material, paper, wood, and textiles.
- Fire class B: liquids and liquefiable solids. We are thinking in particular of various plastics, solvents, hydrocarbons, gasoline, wax, and grease.
- Fire class C: gases, such as LPG, butane, propane, or natural gas.
- Fire class D: metals. Among these, aluminum, sodium, or magnesium.
- Fire class F: fats. They cover all types of vegetable and animal fats, such as cooking oil.
1. The powder extinguisher
A powder extinguisher can overcome many different types of fires, including class A and B fires.
- Advantages: It can extinguish almost all types of fires, Good extinguishing effect, Turns off the powered equipment, Frost resistant
- Disadvantages: the powder is messy and causes damage, Lots of collateral damage, No cooling effect, Damage electrical devices, Increased risk of fire reigniting, Shorter spray time
2. The gas extinguisher (CO2)
CO2 or carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are particularly suitable for Class B fires and where there must be no collateral damage. This extinguisher should therefore be used if you want to preserve expensive appliances, electrical cabinets, telephone systems, or kitchen appliances.
In addition, this extinguisher is particularly effective in the event of fire of liquid products (class B). This type of extinguisher contains liquid CO2, expelled under pressure in gaseous form. During this process, the CO2 reaches a temperature of -80 ° C.
- Advantages: Fire without CO2 can no longer propagate, it allows a fire to be extinguished effectively without any residue or damage.
- Disadvantages: Useful only with small fires. The gas can be very cold and cause frostbite if used incorrectly.
3. The foam extinguisher
A foam extinguisher works with a mixture of water and foam. The foam blocks the oxygen supply to the fire, which eventually suffocates.
- Advantages: The foam is the only agent which allows an effective extinction, without risk of restarting the flames, in particular for the so-called “liquid” fires of class B, Easy to use, Limited collateral damage, Long spray duration, Switch off the powered equipment, Cooling effect that reduces the risk of re-ignition.
- Disadvantages: Not to be used for electrical circuits: the foam is conductive and corrosive, more expensive than a powder extinguisher, not resistant to frost (but there are special extinguishers that remain frost)
Finally, a few tips for your extinguishers
- Choose strategic locations.
Choose a fire extinguisher that you can lift and carry easily.
Read the instructions supplied with the extinguisher, do not wait for a fire to break out to find out how it works.