Getting to know your fire extinguishers

Did you know there are 42 different types of fire extinguishers? When you are in a challenging position faced with a fire, quick thinking and using the right extinguisher is vital to managing a potentially escalating situation. 

Here at M&G fire we are committed to supporting our clients with what to use when it matters the most. Here’s a quick guide to understanding a few of the most common types of fire extinguishers helping you to decide how to choose the best products to protect your business premises. 

Foam fire extinguishers 

One of the most common extinguishers available to hand is the foam fire extinguisher. The most effective way to extinguish a class B fire caused by flammable liquids, such as gasoline, paint thinners and alcohols. The foam extinguishers work by creating a blanket like covering over the vapours released by the burning liquids. This removes the oxygen from the fire and therefore reducing the burning process. 

The foam extinguisher can also be used on Class A fires involving wood, paper and textiles making it a good versatile extinguisher to have on business premises with multiple fire hazards.

Water fire extinguishers 

A water extinguisher can be used on a class A fire caused by burning wood, paper or textiles. This type of extinguisher must not be used on any fires caused by flammable gases, electrical faults or flammable liquids. The water works by reducing the heat element from the fire stopping it from continuing to burn. An essential extinguisher for all operating business premises.

Co2 extinguishers 

This extinguisher can be identified by its black label and is normally a smaller sized cylinder than the water and foam extinguishers. The co2 extinguisher is filled with non-flammable carbon dioxide gas under extreme pressure. When released and aimed at the source of the fire, it replaces the oxygen with carbon dioxide reducing its ability to spread and continue to burn. This type of extinguisher is suitable for use on a fire caused by flammable liquids or electricity. This cannot be used on fires caused by burning materials, fats or oils. 

Dry powder extinguishers 

The dry powder in this extinguisher works by cutting off the oxygen element to the fire. This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for wood, paper and material based fires, electrical and flammable liquids and is identifiable due to its blue label. 

Wet chemical extinguishers 

This type of fire extinguisher is ideal to use on a fire caused by burning oils or fats. The wet thick foamy liquid released from this extinguisher provides a blanket like effect over the burning substance which stops the oxygen from continuing to fuel the fire and continuing to burn. Ingredients in a wet chemical extinguisher normally consist of potassium acetate, often with added potassium citrate or potassium bicarbonate. This type of extinguisher is unsuitable for a fire caused by electrical faults or flammable liquids. 

These may be the most common types of fire extinguishers found in our homes and businesses but if you require any specific further guidance to protect your business, staff and premises please get in contact and one of our knowledge team will be more than happy to help.