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Know Your Fire Extinguishers!

There are several different types of fire extinguisher. Using the correct one is a critical part of fire safety. Basically there are three types: Carbon Dioxide, Foam and Powder. Would you know which one to use and when?

Carbon dioxide Fire Extinguishers

Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers are suitable for electrical fires or any fire where a conductive substance, such as water, cannot be used. Carbon dioxide extinguishers are generally installed in all premises where live electrical equipment is used: computers, TV’s, machines and also where there is a chance for small liquid or welding fires.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

In recent years FFF or foam extinguishers have taken over from water extinguishers due to their smaller size, reduced weight and higher A rating. Foam fire extinguishers are also fitted with special nozzles that makes them cleaner and easier to use in a smaller environment where it’s important to reduce the amount of damage the extinguisher itself could cause. Foam fire extinguishers are suitable for all premises that require an Class A (general combustible material fire) extinguisher such as shops, hospitals, offices, hotels residential homes, care homes and any premises with a flammable liquid risk. It’s important to not that a foam fire extinguisher must never be used on an electrical fire.

Powder Fire Extinguishers

A dry powder fire extinguisher can put out virtually any type of fire but are not generally recommended for indoor use. The updated British Standards 5306-8-2012 selection and positioning of portable fire extinguishers code of practice states: “The discharge of a powder extinguisher within buildings can cause a sudden reduction of visibility and can also impair breathing, which could temporarily jeopardise escape, rescue or other emergency action. For this reason, powder extinguishers should generally not be specified for use indoors, unless mitigated by a health and safety risk assessment.” Powder fire extinguishers are suitable for class A fires: wood, paper and cloth etc. Class B: flammable liquids, and Class C: Flammable gases – but never put out a gas fire that cannot then be turned off.

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If you’re not sure what sort of fire extinguisher you need for your business, get in touch today.

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