Fire Extinguisher Advice

The location and specific types of portable fire extinguishers in your workplace or home will have been determined by your risk assessment of the building.

Fire Extinguishers will normally be located in conspicuous potions on escape routes, preferably exit doors.

On the 1st January 1997 the British Standards EN3: Part 5 Recommended that all new extinguisher bodies should be red and 5% of the overall mass should represent medium it contains.

In order to find the right extinguisher you need to understand how a fire is successfully extinguished, please read Principles of fire before making your selection...

Class A - All carbonaceous material such as wood, textiles and paper. Also certain types of plastic and rubber.

Class B - Flammable liquids such as petrol, oils, greases and paints, solvents and fats. Many plastics can also be included in this class.

Class C - Flammable gases such as methane, propane, butane, acetylene, town gas including natural gas.

Class D - Combustive metals.

Class E - All fires which are complicated by the presence of live electrical equipment or wiring.

Class F - Large amounts of fats.

Dry Powder (A & B & C) extinguishers are usually rated for multiple purpose use. They contain an extinguishing agent and use a compressed, non-flammable gas as a propellant.

Foam (A & B) extinguishers have a smothering affect, depriving fire of oxygen. These types of fire extinguishers are especially effective on Class B (flammable liquid) fires; it can also be used on Class A (carbonaceous) fires, paper and wood.

Water (A) These extinguishers contain water and compressed gas and should only be used on Class A (ordinary combustibles) fires.

Carbon Dioxide (B & C) extinguishers are most effective on Class B and C (liquids and electrical) fires. Since the gas disperses quickly, these extinguishers are only effective from 3 to 8 feet. The carbon dioxide is stored as a compressed liquid in the extinguisher; as it expands, it cools the surrounding air. The cooling will often cause ice to form around the horn where the gas is expelled from the extinguisher. Since the fire could re-ignite, continue to apply the agent even after the fire appears to be out.

Wet Chemical (A & F) extinguishers are used for deep fat fryers as well as A class fires,

Please also take into account the type of building, size, people's health conditions, when choosing which type of extinguisher.

Fire Services can help in supplying the correct extinguisher and also service them according to the fire regulations.