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Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers are the main form of protection for small- and medium-sized buildings and perhaps the most commonly observable articles of fire protection equipment. They are also often used on larger sites to supplement fixed systems. There are a range of different fire extinguishers dependent on the type of fire being tackled, including:

  • Water/water spray (water with additive) — best for Class A fires but potentially hazardous to use on burning fat, oil or electrical fires.
  • Water mist (dry water mist) — a broad spectrum extinguisher that can be used on Class A, B, C and F fires, as well as also being safe to use on electrical fires, as mist does not conduct electricity and the extinguisher does not form puddles, which could conduct electricity.
  • Dry powder (multipurpose) — best for Class A and B fires and can also be used on class C fires, but cannot be used on Class F domestic chip pan fires.
  • Dry powder (special powders) — specifically designed for Class D fires.
  • Aqueous film-forming form (AFFF) — best for Class A and Class B fires, but cannot be used on Class F fires.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) — best for live electrical equipment, although there is a risk of reignition of hot plastics. Now mainly used on large computer servers, but risks asphyxiation of the user and surrounding people when used in small rooms. Should not be used on class F fires.
  • Wet chemical — best for class F fires and not generally recommended for Class B fires. Most wet chemical extinguishers contain a solution of potassium acetate, sometimes with the addition of potassium citrate or potassium bicarbonate.

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