Fire Extinguisher Types and Uses

Fire Extinguisher Types and Uses

Fire Extinguisher Types and Uses

Fire Extinguisher is a fire protection device. This is also known as “Fire Cylinder”. A fire extinguisher can handle small fire. If the fire has spread over a large area, then the fire extinguisher cannot work to extinguish or control the fire. There are different types of fire extinguisher. The fire extinguishers are categorized on the basis of the fire class they can work on.

There are six different classes of fire and several different types of fire extinguish. Each type of fire extinguisher can tackle specific fire class. Different types of fire extinguisher contain different types of fire extinguishing agents.

For the safety of your premise, it is important to have the right type of fire extinguisher because there is no single fire extinguisher that can be used on all classes of fire. The selection of the right type of fire extinguisher depends on the area of the building and the type of fire hazards expected in the building. So, the type of fire extinguisher needed in the premises depends upon fire risk from various classes of fire.

There are different classes of fire upon which different types of fire extinguisher can work effectively. These classes are based on which fuels a fire starts with. Our surrounding contains some substance that acts as fuel for starting a fire. When we are aware of these fuels we can select accurate or suitable fire extinguisher for our building. 

Before discussing different types of fire extinguisher, the basic knowledge of fire classes and their fuel substances is essential. So, I will first write about different classes of fire and then describe different types of fire extinguisher.

Class A Fire:

Class A fire is caused by ordinary combustible materials such as wood, paper, textile rubber, trash or some other solid materials. 

Class B Fire:

Some flammable liquids such as gasoline, acetone, kerosene, grease, paint, and alcohols can start the fire. These flammable liquids can start class B fire. 

Class C Fire: 

The source for class C fire is flammable gases. Most commonly flammable gases include methane, butane, and propane that have the potential to cause an explosion. Gases add the fuel to the fire and fuel is one of the components of the fire triangle.

Class D Fire:

Some metals such as potassium, sodium, and aluminium can cause the fire. So, the source fuel for class D fire is metals. These metals burn when they come in contact with the fire and air. These metals even in the powdered form can cause a fire.

Electrical Fire:

The electrical fires refer to the category of fires involving electrical equipment. It can start ignition in wires, cables, circuit breakers, and other electrical components. An electrical fire can start because of overloading on the circuits when the supply of electricity is inadequate. Electrical fires are often fueled by motors, appliances, and electronic transformers.

Class F Fire:

F class fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers. Greases, cooking oils, vegetable fat, and animal fat are all fuel sources.

Types of Fire Extinguisher

Here is a summary of different types of fire extinguisher and the classes of fire it can extinguish. 

Water-Fire Extinguisher:

Water extinguishers contain water at very high pressure. It is one of the cost-effective ways of extinguishing the fire. Water fire extinguishers are used for extinguishing class A fire. Most of the premises where Class A fire is expected to have a water fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. 

Water fire extinguisher sprays a jet of water at very high pressure on the burning substance. As water has a cooling effect and when water is sprayed on the burning substance, it cools down the substance, hence extinguish the fire and preventing re-ignition. 

We cannot use a water-type fire extinguisher for a kitchen fire, class B and class C fire. This type of fire extinguisher does not have the capability to extinguish an electrical fire. 

This type of extinguisher is equipped with a spray nozzle instead of a jet nozzle which enable it to cover the large surface area and suppress the fire more rapidly.

Some common places that use Water fire extinguishers are as following:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Office Buildings
  • Apartments
  • Shops

DCP (Dry Chemical Powder) Fire Extinguisher: 

DCP fire extinguisher is also known as a powder fire extinguisher. It is used to extinguish Class A, Class B and Class C fire. It is recommended to not use DCP fire extinguisher in enclosed places because if it is inhaled by a human it is highly harmful. After using the fire extinguisher, the premise requires a cleanup procedure. DCP fire extinguishers can also extinguish an electrical fire. the cylinder has a blue band around the cylinder. DCP fire extinguisher is a very versatile fire extinguisher because it can extinguish multiple fire classes. It can extinguish the fire caused by some metals, organic materials and flammable liquid fire. 

DCP fire extinguisher discharges a cloud of fine powder that creates a blanket and suffocate the fire flames. 

Some places that use DCP fire extinguisher are as following:

  • Mechanical Rooms.
  • Laboratories.
  • Offices.
  • Universities.
  • Chemical Storage area.
  • Commercial Kitchen.

Foam Fire Extinguisher:

A foam fire extinguisher is widely used a fire extinguisher. It is containing foam as an extinguishing agent. It is used to extinguish class B fire. it contains foam as an extinguishing agent. The foam fire extinguisher has a cream colour band around the cylinder. Foam fire extinguisher discharges a layer of foam over the burning substance. The foam forms a thick layer over the burning substance and cuts the supply of oxygen and absence of oxygen suffocates the fire. The water droplets in the foam also cool down the burning substance and extinguish the fire. Because the foam is a water-based chemical so we can also use it to extinguish Class A fire. 

But we cannot use a foam fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire caused by flammable metals, kitchen fires and fires that involve electrical equipment. They are supplied with a full package of nozzles, valves, and steel cylinder. The nozzles are non-conductors so they can be used for the equipment near live electrical installations. The water droplets in the foam cool down the burning substance and extinguish the fire.

It is used in premises where some organic materials are stored. Most likely places where the foam fire extinguisher is used are as following:

  • Warehouses.
  • Residential properties.
  • Hospitals.
  • Schools.
  • Offices.

CO2 Fire Extinguishers:

CO2 Fire Extinguisher is one of the commonly used fire extinguishers. A CO2 fire extinguisher can effectively tackle electrical and B class fires. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers contain non-flammable and pure carbon dioxide gas as a fire extinguishing agent which is the most effective extinguisher media on live electrical equipment.Carbon dioxide (CO2) Fire extinguishers are ideal for electrical fire risks and are usually the main fire extinguisher type provided in computer server rooms. They can also extinguish Class B fire. CO2 extinguishers create a barrier to fires by displacing the oxygen the fire needs to burn. They are also useable on Construction sites. CO2 fire extinguisher does not cause leftover and does not require to clean up procedure.

CO2 fire extinguishers are most suitable for places such as:

Server Rooms.



Plant Rooms.

Computer Rooms.

Construction Sites.

These are different types of fire extinguisher which I have discussed. So I hope after reading this article you would get enough information that helps you in choosing the right fire extinguisher for your premises. 

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