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How Many Fire Extinguisher Types Are There?

There are five primary kinds of fire extinguishers: foam, water, wet chemical, dry powder, and CO2. You must own the specific fire extinguisher required for your facilities to follow the current standards.

Due to the numerous fuels that might ignite a fire, many types of fire extinguishers are required. Different classifications of fire are used to categorize the many sorts of flames brought on by various fuels. The type of fire extinguisher required for your company depends on the risk of fire from its different classifications.

To comply with fire safety requirements, it is crucial that you make sure the appropriate size and weight of the fire extinguisher is accessible in your workplace.

Classes of Fire

Despite the fact that fire might appear to be one large dangerous force, there are really several types of fires. The class of a fire may influence how rapidly it burns, how hazardous it is, and the most effective approach to put it out.There are six main classes of fire, including:

The Five Types of Fire Extinguishers

To prepare yourself and your staff against the threat of a fire, your top priorities should be: getting the appropriate fire extinguishers for your fire classes, committing to regular fire safety training, and maintaining all equipment in top working order.

Each type of fire extinguisher is effective against a certain class of fire. This makes picking the right one challenging since no single extinguisher can put out all fires.Despite the fact that there are five major types of fire extinguishers, there are really eight distinct types of fire extinguishers available due to the variations in dry powder and water extinguishers.

Specialty dry powder, regular dry powder, foam, water mist, water spray, wet chemical, and carbon dioxide are the eight distinct types of fire extinguishers. Like we said, no one fire extinguisher can be used to put out all types of fire. No matter what kind of fire you are dealing with, if you can maintain each of these, you should be able to respond effectively in an emergency.

Foam Extinguishers

These are the most typical class B fire extinguisher types used, but because they are water-based, they may also be used to put out Class A fires. These fire extinguishers are used to put out fires started by flammable liquids like paint and gasoline as well as organic materials including wood, coal, textiles, fabrics, cardboard, and paper.

Foam extinguishers work by cooling the gasoline that ignites a fire. Using the foaming agent establishes a barrier between the fuel and the flame when it is poured onto burning liquid, putting the fire out. Foam extinguishers should never be used for kitchen fires, fires involving electrical equipment, and fires started by combustible metals.

Businesses and workplaces need foam extinguishers where the building is composed of different organic materials or where it is anticipated that such organic materials will be present. This includes warehouses, residential properties, hospitals, schools, offices, and structures storing flammable liquids. Simply put, the majority of buildings need to have foam or water extinguishers on hand. On floors that have been determined to pose a class A or B fire risk, this extinguisher should be close to the exits.

Water Fire Extinguishers

Most Class A fires require a water extinguisher. Foam or water extinguishers are required in the majority of buildings. This kind of extinguisher is used to put out fires started by a variety of organic materials such as coal, wood, cardboard, and paper. Water extinguishers work by cooling with the liquid inside. When applied, the water slows down the fuel’s burning rate of combustion until the fire is totally put out.

Just like foam extinguishers, water extinguishers should not be used to put out kitchen fires, flames brought on by combustible liquids or gasses, or fires involving electrical equipment.

Buildings composed of wood or organic materials or commercial locations with certain sorts of organic materials, such as hospitals, schools, offices, warehouses, and residential properties, need the usage of these extinguishers. Foam or water extinguishers are needed in the majority of the structures. On floors with a Class A fire risk designation, these extinguishers should be by the exit.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

A wet chemical extinguisher can be used to put out flames caused by cooking fats and oils (a Class F fire). They can also be used to put out a Class A fire, although it is more common to have a foam or water extinguisher for those situations. In commercial kitchens and canteens, this kind of fire extinguisher has to be put close to the area where there is a fire danger.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher

The standard dry powder extinguishers, also known as ABC extinguishers, put out class A, class B, and class C flames. However, because the dry powder in the extinguisher can be readily breathed, it should not be used in closed or confined spaces. Another thing of note, once the fire is out, cleaning up the residual debris is difficult.

In order to put out flames, dry powder extinguishers create a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen supply. This kind of extinguisher may be used to put out fires started by a variety of organic materials, including wood, coal, textiles, fabrics, cardboard, and paper. It may also be used to put out fires started by flammable gasses like acetylene and liquid petroleum gas as well as flammable liquids like paint and gasoline. Dry powder extinguishers are also effective against electrical equipment fires.

Special dry powder extinguishers are also available; they are often used to put out flames started by combustible metals. However, they are normally exclusively used on combustible metals like magnesium and titanium. This sort of fire extinguisher is required for places like garage forecourts, welding and flame cutting shops, and buildings with big boiler rooms that use flammable gasses for chemical operations.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguishers

CO2 extinguishers, mainly used for electrical fires, are most often found in computer server rooms. They can also extinguish Class B fires. By removing the oxygen that a fire requires to ignite, CO2 extinguishers suffocate the flames. CO2 extinguishers must be positioned close to the fire risk’s source or close to fire exits, such as in offices, kitchens, server rooms, and locations containing electrical equipment.

Water Mist Extinguishers vs. Water Spray Extinguishers

Water Mist Extinguishers

As the name implies, water mist fire extinguishers are fitted with a nozzle that releases tiny, microscopic water droplets. The microparticles released by the nozzle smother the fire while also protecting the person using it by generating a wall of mist that reduces the feeling of heat.

Water Spray Extinguishers

Water spray extinguishers have a spray nozzle rather than a jet. This means that the water can cover a considerably larger area, putting out fires more quickly.

How Often Do Fire Extinguishers Have To Be Replaced?

Traditional fire extinguishers have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, despite the fact that they don’t have a genuine “expiration date.” Fire extinguishers that are disposable (non-rechargeable) should be changed every ten years.

A powder, foam, or water extinguisher typically lasts between 10 and 12 years. That is with the assumption that the extinguisher remains undamaged and in good working order. The fire extinguisher has to be changed after this period of time. Ten years after the date of manufacture, CO2 extinguishers should be replaced, providing they are still in operating order.

What Are The 3 Methods of Extinguishing Fires?

Any fire may be put out by cooling it down, covering it, starving it, or stopping the combustion process altogether.

Starving/Interrupting – restricting fuel by the removal of possible fuel from the area around the fire, separating the fire from the bulk of flammable items, or dividing the fire into smaller, more manageable flames. By putting out the fire with extinguishing materials that block chemical chain reactions at the molecular level, the chemical chain reaction is interrupted.