Fire extinguishers are a legal requirement in Australian workplaces so it’s important to understand which types of fire extinguishers are most appropriate for the types of fires that can ignite in your workplace, and at home. In Australia, there are six types of fire extinguishers available that each serve a different purpose, depending on what type of material is on fire. To understand which fire extinguishers are most suitable for your workplace or home, it’s important to understand the different classes of fire so you can recognise which fire extinguisher to use if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to extinguish a fire:
Class A – Solids, e.g. paper, wood, plastic, fabrics, http://cialisfrance24.com textiles
Class B – Flammable or combustible liquids, e.g. cleaning products, paraffin, petrol, oil
Class C – Flammable gases, e.g. propane, butane, methane
Class D – Metals (often used in laboratories), e.g. aluminium, magnesium, titanium
Class E – Electrical fires, e.g. computers, TVs
Class F – Cooking oils and fats (mostly used in kitchens)
Water fire extinguishers
Water fire extinguishers are capable of extinguishing fires by taking away the heat element of the fire triangle. Water fire extinguishers are the cheapest and most widely used fire extinguishers. Water fire extinguishers are only suitable for Class A fires, and should not be used for any other Classes of fire. You’ll recognise a water fire extinguisher by the red colour band on the extinguisher itself.
Foam fire extinguishers
Similar to water fire extinguishers, foam fire extinguishers take away the heat element of the fire triangle. The foam agents serves to separate the oxygen element of the fire, which is the main ingredient that causes a fire. Foam fire extinguishers are more expensive than water fire extinguishers, but are also more versatile. Foam fire extinguishers are only suitable for both Class A and B fires. Do not use Foam fire extinguishers for electrical fires under any circumstances. You’ll recognise a foam fire extinguisher by the blue colour band on the extinguisher itself.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers
Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers are similar to foam fire extinguishers in that they take away the oxygen element of the fire and also remove the heat with a high pressure and very cold discharge. Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers should be used on Class B, C and E fires only, and are typically ineffective on Class A fires. You’ll recognise a CO2 fire extinguisher by the black colour band located on the extinguisher.
Dry Chemical fire extinguishers
Dry Chemical fire extinguishers are effective by interrupting the chemical reaction within the fire triangle. Dry Chemical fire extinguishers are the most widely used fire extinguishers are they are suitable for Class A, B, and C fires. These types of fire extinguishers are most suitable to have around the house. The agent used in Dry Chemical fire extinguishers creates a barrier between the oxygen element and the fuel element on Class A fires, and are especially effective for Class B fires. Be careful when using this fire extinguisher indoors because it is very messy and can obscure vision and damage goods and machinery. You’ll recognise a Dry Chemical fire extinguisher by the white colour band located on the extinguisher.
Wet Chemical fire extinguishers
Wet Chemical fire extinguishers are relatively new and extinguish fires by removing the heat within the fire triangle and prevents re-ignition by forming a barrier between the oxygen and fuel elements of the fire. Wet Chemical fire extinguishers were produced for modern, commercial kitchens therefore highly suitable for Class F fires, but can also be used for Class A fires. You’ll recognise a Wet Chemical fire extinguisher by the oatmeal colour band located on the extinguisher.
Specialised Metal fire extinguishers
Specialised fire extinguishers designed to extinguish metal fires are available, however they are mostly used for commercial purposes in laboratories and factories and are very uncommon for workplaces and at home.
Fire extinguishers are life-saving devices and as you can see, there are a range of fire extinguishers that are designed for different classes of fires. If you’re wishing to buy a fire extinguisher for your home, then Dry Chemical fire extinguishers are most suitable for the types of materials that are likely to catch fire in this environment. If you need to purchase any type of fire extinguisher, get in touch with King Fire Protection Services on 1300 344 966 or visit their website: www.kingfire.com.au