Portable fire extinguishers are used for different applications and placed or hanging on walls for fire extinguishment at different locations such as dwellings, apartments, shops, malls, stores, schools, factories, etc. Here we will discuss types of fire extinguishers and their uses because mostly we have confusion that which fire extinguisher is used for what? and what is the difference between them? why should we use this or that fire extinguisher? If you have similar confusion or questions in your mind then this article is the right choice for you. Let’s resolve this matter and clear our concept.
Fire extinguishers have different types but commonly five (05) types of extinguishers are used, which are:
- Water fire extinguisher
- Foam fire extinguisher
- CO2 fire extinguisher
- Wet chemical fire extinguisher
- Dry powder fire extinguisher
1. Water Fire Extinghisher
This water-type fire extinguisher contains water-based agents such as water, film-forming foam agents (AFFF/FFFP), loaded stream, antifreeze, and wet chemical as per NFPA 10 code requirement. This is stored pressure water extinguisher is used for Class-A fires which are fueled by Solid materials such as plastic, wood, paper, textile, and furniture. Other fire extinguishers are also used to tackle a Class-A fire such as Dry Powder, Foam, and Wet Chemical fire extinguishers, but flammable liquid such as petrol, diesel, etc., and electrical fire such as wires, panels, generators, etc. shall not be tackled by Water fire extinguisher. This extinguisher color code is “Bright Red” which is marked under the name tag. This stored pressure water extinguisher’s hydrostatic test interval is 5 years to verify its strength against unwanted accidents.
2. Foam Fire Extinguisher
This foam fire extinguisher is film-forming foam which is a solution and forms an aqueous film on liquid fuels. It has two solutions i.e. aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and film-forming fluoro-protein foam (FFFP). This foam fire extinguisher is used for Class-A and Class-B fires which are fueled by flammable liquids such as burning oil, petrol, paint, etc. It should be noted that other fire extinguishers are also used to tackle a Class-B fire such as CO2 gas and Dry Powder fire extinguisher, but Class-B fire shall not be tackled by Water and Wet chemical fire extinguishers. A foam fire extinguisher is not suitable for domestic use. This extinguisher color code is “Cream” which is marked under the name tag. This extinguisher color code is cream which is marked under the name tag. The foam (AFFF/FFFP) extinguisher’s hydrostatic test interval is 5 years.
3. CO2 Fire Extinguisher
This carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguisher has an ability that the agent doesn’t leave a buildup after use and discharge in the gas form or snow cloud up to 3ft to 8ft. This CO2 fire extinguisher is used for Class-B and Class-E (as per American standard Class-E is called Class-C) fires which are fueled by costly electrical appliance/electronic equipment such as TVs, Computers, Generators, etc. One another fire extinguisher is also used to tackle a Class-E fire such as a Dry Powder fire extinguisher, but Class-E fire shall not be tackled by Water and Wet chemical fire extinguishers. This extinguisher is safe in usage on high and low voltage. This extinguisher color code is “Black” which is marked under the name tag. The CO2 extinguisher’s hydrostatic test interval is 5 years. This CO2 extinguisher is recommended to use indoor-only because CO2 agents can rapidly dissipate outdoor and extinguishment will not be possible.
4. Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher
This wet chemical fire extinguisher has an aqueous solution of potassium-based organic/inorganic salts like a thick soapy foam blanket which stops the oxygen from burning cooking oil or fat and smoothing the flames over the surface. This fire extinguisher is used for Class-A and Class-F (as per American standard Class-F is called Class-K) fires which are fueled by cooking media like vegetable or animal oils and fats. Wet chemical fire extinguishers are seen in kitchens because those are recommended for the protection of cooking appliances or cooking grease fires only and no other fire extinguisher can be used for Class-F purposes. This extinguisher is used at extremely high temperatures. This extinguisher color code is “Yellow” which is marked under the name tag. The wet chemical fire extinguisher’s hydrostatic test interval is 5 years.
5. Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher
When we will operate the dry powder fire extinguisher then this produce the thin coating layer over the fire and oxygen in the air will seperate from the fuel. This extinguisher is used in all classes (A, B, C, D & E) except Class-F/Class-K. First, we will understand Class-C and then Class-D because Class-A, B & E is explained above.
Class-C fires are fueled by flammable gasses such as methane, propane, or butane means all burning gasses tackle by foam fire extinguishers and Class-D fires are fueled by ignited metals such as titanium, aluminum, magnesium, other metals ignition tackled by dry foam fire extinguisher also. This extinguisher color code is “Blue” which is marked under the name tag and hydrostatic test interval is 12 years for dry powder fire extinguisher.
Following are characteristics of extinguishers given in NFPA 10 (Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers):
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