Fire extinguishers are designed to tackle specific types of fire.
There are six different classes of fire and five different types of fire extinguisher.
All sounds a bit confusing so let us explain.
What are the Different Fire Classes?
Class A - fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles
Class B - fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel or oils
Class C - fires involving gases
Class D - fires involving metals
Electrical - fires involving live electrical apparatus
Class F - fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers
Types of Fire Extinguisher
As we said, there are 5 main different types of fire extinguisher. Each one designed for use on the various fire class types. It is important that the correct fire extinguisher is matched to the fire risk within each part of the building. This isn’t done by guesswork. The fire extinguishers you need in each area of your site is determined by a comprehensive fire risk assessment.
These are the most common type of fire extinguisher as they cover Class A fire risks. Water is expelled at high pressure to dampen and extinguish the fire.
Water fire extinguishers should not be used for kitchen fires, electrical fires or fires caused by flammable liquids or gas.
Foam extinguishers are most suited to Class B type fire risks. Class B are fire types involving solids and burning liquids, such as paint and petrol. Foam extinguishers can also be used for Class A type fires as they are mainly water based with a foaming agent.
Like Class A fires, foam extinguishers should not be used on electrical or kitchen fires.
Dry Powder Extinguishers
Dry powder extinguishers are designed for use on Class A, B and C fires. Some dry powder extinguishers are also suitable for use on fires caused by flammable metals. However, they should not be used in enclosed spaces. The powder spreads quickly and can create a loss of visibility and cause breathing problems.
Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers
CO2 extinguishers are suitable for environments with electrical equipment such as offices or server rooms as they are safe to use on fires involving electrical apparatus. Unlike foam extinguishers, CO2 extinguishers do not leave any residue. They are also suitable for Class B fires.
Wet Chemical Extinguishers
Class F fires involving cooking oils and fats, such as lard, sunflower oil and butter are best extinguished using a wet chemical fire extinguisher. They work by cooling the oil and creating a soap-like solution on the surface to prevent the fire re-igniting. Although they are designed for use on Class F fires, they can also be used on Class A and B fires.
We know that’s a lot to take in. We don’t expect you to remember it all either. That’s why each one shows the fire types it’s to be used for on the body of the extinguisher.
Fire Extinguisher Servicing
Once you have your fire extinguishers installed and commissioned, it’s important to have them serviced annually. This ensures they remain fit for purpose, and that you are compliant with fire safety legislation. In some settings fire extinguishers can get damaged or even start to corrode. So, it’s really important they are serviced by a trained engineer.
In addition to an annual service, water, foam and dry powder extinguishers should have a discharge test every five years.
Why Triple Star Fire & Security?
We’re quite proud people. Proud of ensuring your fire safety systems meet all required legislation and provides the best protection for your employees and customers. We install, commission and maintain your fire extinguishers to the BS 5306 standard. This ensures the extinguishers have been installed correctly and are free from any damage.
For new install and commissioning of fire extinguishers, or servicing of existing fire extinguishers then call us on 0203 189 1960 or complete your details above.
Our friendly team will help with your fire extinguisher enquiry and lead you through the next steps.