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A Guide to the Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

Understanding the intricacies of fire systems like extinguishers and alarms is paramount to safeguarding both lives and property. As a business owner, ensuring you’re familiar with the classes of fires and the appropriate fire extinguishers for each class is the first step in establishing an effective fire safety plan for your commercial space.

This blog from the fire safety experts at Snowdonia Fire Protection Ltd is here to break down the many types of fire extinguishers available and provide valuable insight into when and how they should be used.

Understanding the Classes of Fire in the UK

Fires are categorised into different classes, distinguished by the type of material being burned in the fire. These classes include:

Class A:Fires arising from ordinary combustibles like wood, paper and cloth.
Class B:Fires fueled by flammable liquids such as petrol, oil and grease.
Class C:Fires fueled by flammable gases like propane, butane, hydrogen, etc.
Class D:Fires involving combustible metals such as magnesium and titanium.
Electrical:Fires ignited by electrical equipment like televisions, computers and photocopiers. It’s worth noting that, once the electrical item is removed, the fire will change class.
Class F:Fires occurring in cooking appliances fueled by fats and oils.

Types of Fire Extinguishers and their Applications

Fire extinguishers come in various types, each designed to combat specific classes of fire. Understanding the different types and their applications is crucial for effective fire safety. Using the wrong one could make the fire considerably worse and even cause serious harm to people located nearby. Here’s an overview of the main extinguisher types:

Water Extinguishers (Class A)

Label Colour: Red

How they work: Water extinguishers work by cooling the burning material, thus reducing the temperature below the ignition point.

Foam Extinguishers (Class A and B)

Label Colour: Cream

How they work: Foam extinguishers smother the flames and cool the burning material, preventing re-ignition.

Carbon Dioxide / CO2 Extinguishers (Class B and C)

Label Colour: Black

How they work: CO2 extinguishers work by displacing oxygen, removing it from the fire triangle and disrupting the combustion process.

Dry Powder Extinguishers (Class A, B and C)

Label Colour: Blue

How they work: Dry powder extinguishers smother the fire, interrupting the chemical reaction by coating the fuel source with a fine powder.

Wet Chemical Extinguishers (Class F)

Label Colour: Yellow

How they work: Wet chemical extinguishers create a barrier on the surface of the burning oil, preventing the release of flammable vapours.

Ensuring you’re familiar with the specific fire risks of your commercial premises is essential when establishing what fire extinguishers to install. A comprehensive fire safety plan and reliable fire systems company can help you ensure the safety of your property and anyone who works in or visits it.

To discuss your fire safety requirements and select the right commercial fire extinguishers for your needs, get in touch with the team here at Snowdonia Fire Protection Ltd today. With years of experience and a vigilant approach, we’re well-equipped to help you protect your business against the devastating effects of fire.

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