The Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

It’s important to make sure that you have installed and are maintaining the correct type of fire extinguishers for your building, as fire extinguishers are an important part of fire safety provisions. To gain more knowledge on safely using these extinguishers, we recommend Ace Fire’s fire extinguisher training course.

Before going through the extinguishers available we should take a look at the classification of fires according to the European standard.

Class A Fires are fires involving flammable solids, this includes wood, paper, straw, textiles, coal, etc.

Class B Fires are fires involving flammable liquids and liquefiable solids, which includes petrol, diesel, oils, paint, paraffin, etc.

Class C Fires involve flammable gases, such as methane, propane, natural gas, etc.

Class D Fires are flammable metal fires, involving materials such as magnesium, aluminium, lithium, etc.

Class F Fires are fires on combustible cooking media, and this includes cooking oil, fats, grease, etc.

Electrical Fires are fires involving live electrical equipment such as computers, stereos, fuse boxes, etc.

To deal with Class A-F fires there are 5 types of fire extinguisher, with a band of secondary colour covering between 5-10% of the surface to mark the contents and type of extinguisher. Each type of fire extinguisher has a corresponding colour, to allow easier identification for the user.

Foam, CO2, Water, Wet Chemical and Powder fire extinguishers

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers have a blue identification band. These powder extinguishers are the ideal fire extinguisher for use in mixed risk environments. Powder fire extinguishers are the only effective solution for fires which involve flammable gases. This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for Class A, B, C and electrical fires.

AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) Fire Extinguishers have a cream coloured identification band. Foam fire extinguishers are highly effective on flammable liquid fires, and are also ideal for use on fire involving solid combustible materials. The layer of foam applied helps to prevent re-ignition after the fire has been put out. This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for Class A and B fires.

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Fire Extinguishers have a black identification band and are one of the cleanest extinguisher agents, as it leaves no residue behind. These are suitable for use on flammable liquid fires, and are extremely effective for extinguishing fires involving electrical equipment. This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for Class B and electrical fires.

Water Fire Extinguishers are identified with a red identification band and are suitable for use on fires containing solid combustible materials such as wood, paper and textiles. It is important to note that these extinguishers should not be used around electrical equipment, as water conducts electricity. This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for Class A fires.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers have a bright yellow identification band, and are usually supplied with a special application lance. These extinguishers are ideally suited to the kitchen environment as they are the perfect solution for dealing with large burning oil/fat fires. This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for Class A and F fires.

It is essential to receive professional fire extinguisher training to understand the correct correlation between the different types of fires the most suitable extinguisher to use on them. For more information, training or to purchase fire extinguishers, contact Ace Fire today.