Know Your Fire Extinguishers

Know Your Fire Extinguishers

Not every fire extinguisher is the same, nor can it be used for any type of fire. It’s important that you know the difference, lest you make the problem even bigger.

You can find the information about the type of your extinguisher on it, but it can be pretty sparse. That’s why this article aims to explain why some extinguishers are better suited for different kinds of fires. Even if you have the right kind of fire extinguisher, keep in mind that portable extinguishers have their limits; more about that in this article

Water-Based Extinguishers

These types of extinguishers are only useful for putting out fires caused by solids, that is paper, wood, or similar flammable materials. It should not be used on electrical fires for obvious reasons, but it is also not well-suited for putting out fires caused by a liquid either.

The label on water fire extinguishers is red, like the rest of the extinguisher body. Other types of extinguishers have different labels so you can identify them by that.

Water extinguishers work by cooling down the blazing material. It is therefore advised that you point the extinguisher at the base of the fire, and move it around throughout the source of the fire.

Foam-Based Extinguishers

These extinguishers are lighter than water-based ones, but pack the same punch, and are more versatile. You can use them for both solid fires and liquid fires, such as gasoline or oil. Electrical fires are still not recommended to be put out by this type of extinguisher.

The label on these extinguishers is cream-yellow, so it can be easily identified and properly used. When putting out a liquid-based fire, you mustn’t spray the contents directly onto the flame. In this way, you risk splashing the liquid and spreading the fire. Instead, spray above the fire so that the foam can fall onto the fire and extinguish it. The same process is to be used when putting out a solid fire.

Know Your Fire Extinguishers

Dry Powder of Dry Chemical

These extinguishers are even more versatile than the previous two types. They can be used for both solid and liquid fires, but unlike the previous two, it can also be used to quell an electrical fire. Keep in mind, though, that they can leave a residue which can harm electronic devices.

The label on these extinguishers is blue, which is fairly conspicuous, and there are usually words like ‘dry powder’ written there as well. When extinguishing a liquid fire, start at the near end and use sweeping motions towards the far end of the fire until you’ve put it out. When putting out electrical fires, though, you should turn the current off if you can. When the electricity is off, point the nozzle at the base of the fire. If the fire is inside a device, try to point the nozzle at some opening in the casing of the device.

Carbon Dioxide

CO2 is a greenhouse gas and we are trying to cut down on its emissions. That being said, it does have its uses and fire extinguishers are one of those uses. The way it works is by releasing the pressurized CO2, creating a two-fold effect. Firstly, it denies the fire the oxygen it needs to burn. The second effect is that pressurizing the gas also decreases its temperature. When released, CO2 is cold and cools down the fire. It is why it is useful for liquid fires and electrical ones, whereas it is not particularly effective against solid fires.

Wet Chemical

These are relatively new on the market. They are specifically designed to remove heat from the fire, thus putting it out. They are best suited for cooking emergencies, and you are most likely to have this type of extinguisher in your kitchen.

They have a yellow label on them and they should be used at around 1-meter distance from the fire itself.

All in all, it is very useful to have a fire extinguisher, but you should also know how to use it and which type to use in which situation.

To contact Red Truck Fire & Safety Co.
5555 Santa Fe St M, San Diego, CA 92109, United States

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