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Fire extinguisher information for fire wardens

Fire extinguishers and their uses

Fire extinguishers are one of the most recognisable items in fire protection and as a fire warden you should be extremely familliar with them. Whilst not supplied for the untrained to attempt to tackle a large fire, they can offer a way to escape should fire surround you, as well as a chance to extinguish a smaller fire before it spreads.

There are many different varieties of fire extinguisher available. Each one has its own particular uses and should be used in the relevant situation. Fire extinguishers that are mishandled or damaged may not seem like a big deal to some, but in actual fact that small piece of equipment may be the key to someone living or dying, particularly if you are the victim of arson.

Fire extinguishers - Firetrainingpro

So, what are the different types of fire extinguisher and when can they each be used?

Each one clearly states on the cylinder the type that it fits into. All you will need to learn is what particular type of fire it relates to.

There are five main types of extinguisher that are available; foam, water, dry powder, carbon dioxide, dry water mist and wet chemical. They all have their specific types of fire to be used on, and if your home or workplace has several different levels of risk then it is not uncommon to find one of each variety throughout the building.

Water extinguishers

Water fire extinguishers are designed to offer protection against fire that involve paper, wood and soft furnishings. This is because the water soaks into these materials and cools the heat, eliminating one of the key factors in fire.

Foam extinguishers

Fire extinguishers that sit in the foam category work by emitting a layer of foam that smothers the fire, therefore starving it of any oxygen. These types are particular useful in penetrating porous materials or for use on areas that may melt under the extreme heat such as carpets. These type of extinguishers can be used in the event that an electrical item is on fire, however they will leave considerable damage.

Carbon Dioxide extinguishers

CO2 extinguishers contain only gas which does not leave a residue after use. They are most suited to those fires that involve burning liquids, but can also be helpful if computer equipment and other electrical appliances are involved. One key thing to remember if you need to use this type of extinguisher is that those that there is a risk with some models that your fingers could freeze to the horn, this is why you should select those that have a frost free horn.

Dry Powder extinguishers

Those fire extinguishers that contain powder are suitable for combating all the above types of fire giving them a good all round capacity. There are however downsides to this type of extinguisher, and that is that powder does not soak through the materials and therefore does not cool the fire. This residual heat source can mean that the fire may re-ignite. You also must be careful not to inhale the powder and be aware that any electrical equipment and soft furnishings are likely to be damaged during its use.

Other types of extinguishers

There are also the specifically designed fire extinguishers such as the wet chemical fire ones. These are made to combat kitchen fires where there is burning oil. These types of extinguisher come with a long application tool that allows you to cover the fire with a cool layer of foam all at a safe distance. They can also be used on fires involving paper and wood, however they may not be effective on these types of fires as other extinguishers.

Whatever type of extinguisher you need for your premises we emphasise how important it is to have these low cost, low space consuming items of fire protection equipment in your home and office – Owning one might just save your life!

You can find more fire safety advice for fire wardens by clicking on the link, or vist our home page to find out more about fire marshal training for your employees.