Home Safety: Which Fire Extinguisher should you install?
Fires are described and classified by the type of material that is ablaze. Each fire extinguisher type is suitable for different fires, and every blaze must only be tackled using the appropriate fire extinguisher.
Below is an outline of each fire extinguisher type and some suggestions as to their use:
Foam extinguishers are effective when used against fires involving solid materials, such as wood and paper. They are also effective against fires started or accelerated by liquid fuels, eg all petroleum products. The foam suffocates the fire, sealing and cooling the burning elements. The foam ‘blanket’ also prevents any further dispersal of materials.Foam fire extinguishers are marked with a prominent cream band.
Co2 extinguishers use carbon dioxide to cut off and replace the oxygen fuelling the combustion. Once effectively starved of oxygen, the fire will quickly die out. Co2 extinguishers are suitable for electrical fires and will leave no residue after use.
Co2 fire extinguishers are marked with a prominent black stripe.
Automatic fire extinguishers have been developed for use in environments where portable extinguishers alone would be insufficient or inaccessible during a fire emergency. Automatic fire extinguishers activate immediately when heat sensors detect a fire. Pressurised fluid is then ejected through a network of pipes and nozzles. The automatic fire extinguisher range can be customised with a choice of water, gas and chemical options. It is vitally important that such units are correctly installed and maintained. AAI Security systems have an in-house team of qualified engineers available for this task. Automatic fire extinguishers are suitable for larger community buildings and spaces but should not be installed in areas that may be permanently damaged by water or chemical sprinklers.
Powder fire extinguishers, also known as dry chemical extinguishers, are particularly suitable for multi-risk environments. They can be used on a variety of burning materials such as wood, paper, electrical equipment, gases and flammable liquids. Compressed gas is used to spray the powder which blankets and smothers the flames. Powder fire extinguishers are extremely versatile and may be used in both domestic and industrial settings.
Wet Chemical Extinguishers
Wet chemical fire extinguishers, which are designed for fires involving burning cooking oil and fat, contain a chemical mixture – potassium acetate, carbonate or citrate; and water. They are essential for food processing plants, and commercial and residential kitchens; whilst also being a sensible precautionary measure in domestic kitchens. A fine spray of wet chemicals is released to envelop and dampen the flames. A chemical reaction takes place at the same moment, sealing and extinguishing the blaze. Wet chemical fire extinguishers should never be used to fight gas or flammable liquid fires, or fires involving either metals or electrical equipment.
This article has been provided by AAI Security & Fire Systems who provide all types of fire safety in and around London, ranging from fire extinguishers to smoke detectors.