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Different Types Of Fire Extinguisher

Section 1 - What is a fire? Section 2 - What are the types of fire? Section 3 - What are the types of fire extinguisher? Section 4 - How do fire extinguishers work? Section 5 - What are the regulations for fire extinguishers? Section 6 - How Many Fire Extinguishers do I need ? Section 7 - Where and how should we install our fire extinguishers ? Section 8 - Where can I find more info on fire extinguishers? Section 1 - What is a Fire ?

As a general rule, fire is caused by a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and some sort of fuel (wood or petrol for example). Of course, wood and petrol don't spontaneously combust just because they're surrounded by oxygen. For the reaction to happen, you have to heat the fuel to a sufficient temperature, this is known as the ignition temperature. The sequence of events in a typical wood fire are as follows: 1. Wood is heated to a very high temperature. The heat can come from several different sources -- a match, focused light, friction, lightning, something else that is already burning (petrol etc) 2. When the wood reaches about 150 degrees Celsius, the heat decomposes some of the cellulose material that the wood comprises of. 3. Some of the decomposed material is released as volatile gases. These gases are more commonly known as smoke. Smoke is compounds of carbon, oxygen and oxygen. The actual burning of wood then happens in two separate reactions: When the volatile gases are hot enough (about 260 degrees Celsius for wood), the compound molecules break apart, and the atoms recombine with the oxygen to form water, carbon dioxide and other products. In other words, they burn. A side effect of these chemical reactions is a lot of heat. The fact that the chemical reactions in a fire generate a lot of new heat is what sustains the fire. Many fuels burn in one step. Petrol is a good example. Heat vaporizes petrol and it all burns as a volatile gas. Humans have also learned how to meter out the fuel and control a fire, for example; a candle is a tool for slowly vaporizing and burning wax.

As they heat up, the rising carbon atoms (as well as atoms of other material) emit light. This effect is called incandescence, and it is the same kind of chemical reaction that creates light in a light bulb. It is what causes the visible flame. Flame colour varies depending on what temperature the fire is burning at. Colour variation within in a flame is caused by uneven temperature. Typically, the hottest part of a flame -- the base -- glows blue, and the cooler parts at the top glow orange or yellow. In addition to emitting light, the rising carbon particles often collect on surrounding surfaces as soot. Fire Variables In the previous section, we saw that fire is the result of a chemical reaction between two gases, oxygen and a fuel gas. The fuel gas is created by heat. In other words, with heat providing the necessary energy, atoms in one gaseous compound break their bonds with each other and recombine with available oxygen atoms in the air to form new compounds plus lots more heat. There are only a few compounds that will readily break apart and recombine in this way -- the various atoms must be attracted to one another in the right manner. For example, when you boil water, it takes the gaseous form of steam, but this gas doesn't react with oxygen in the air. There isn't a strong enough attraction between the two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom in a water molecule and the two oxygen atoms in an oxygen molecule, so the water compound doesn't break apart and recombine. The most flammable compounds contain carbon and hydrogen, which recombine with oxygen relatively easily to form carbon dioxide, water and other gases. Different fuels ignite at different temperatures. It takes a certain amount of heat energy to change any particular material into a gas, and even more heat energy to trigger the reaction with oxygen. The necessary heat level varies depending on the nature of the molecules that make up the fuel. A fuel's piloted ignition temperature is the heat level required to form a gas that will ignite when exposed to a spark.At the unpiloted ignition temperature, which is much higher, the fuel ignites without a spark. The fuel's size and surface area also affect how easily it will catch fire. A larger fuel, such as a railway sleeper, can absorb a lot of heat, so it takes a lot more energy to raise any particular piece to the ignition temperature. If you where to reduce the railway sleeper to sawdust it would burn far more easily as it takes much less heat energy due to the fact that a higher ratio of its mass is exposed to oxygen. The heat produced by a fuel depends on how much energy the gases release in the combustion reaction and how quickly the fuel burns. Both factors depend largely on the fuel's composition. Some compounds react with oxygen in such a way that there is a lot of "extra heat energy" left over. Others emit a smaller amount of energy. Similarly, the fuel's reaction with oxygen may happen slowly, or it may happen more quickly. In this way, fires from different fuels are like different species of animal -- they all behave a little differently. Experts can often figure out how a fire started by observing how it affected the surrounding areas. A fire from a fast-burning fuel that produces a lot of heat will inflict a different sort of damage than a slow-burning, low-heat fire.

Fire Kills Each year nearly 700 people die from fire in their own home. A further 14,000 are injured. The best way to avoid this danger is to prevent fire from starting in the first place. But what should you do if you discover a fire in your home? You must get everyone out as quickly as possible and call the fire brigade. However if you discover a fire in its very early stages and think that you can deal with it yourself. The first thing that you should remember is that fire spreads very quickly. Even a small, contained fire can quickly spread, producing smoke and fumes, which can kill in seconds. If in doubt do not tackle the fire, no matter how small. You can put yourself at risk by fighting the fire. If in doubt get out, get the brigade out, stay out. Before you tackle a fire... Many people put out small fires in their homes quite safely. Sadly, however, some people die or are injured by tackling a fire which is beyond their capabilities. Here is a simple home fire code to help you decide whether to put out or get out.

Only tackle a fire in its very early stages. Always put your own and other peoples safety first. Make sure you can escape if you need to and never let a fire block your exit. Fire extinguishers are only for fighting a fire in its very early stages. Never tackle a fire if it is starting to spread of has spread to other items in the room or if the room is filling with smoke. Around 70% of fire deaths are caused by people being overcome by smoke and fumes.

If you cannot put out the fire or if the extinguisher becomes empty, get out and get everyone else out of the building immediately, closing all doors behind you as you go. Then telephone the fire brigade.

Section 2 - What are the types of fire ?

There are six different types or classes of fire, each of which has extinguishers to tackle the specific types of fire. Newer fire extinguishers use a picture/labelling system to designate which types of fires they are to be used on.

Class A Class B Class C Class D

Solid Liquid Gas Metal

Class F

Cooking Oil

Electrical Electrical Additionally, the majority of fire extinguishers have a numerical rating which is based on tests conducted by professional fire-fighters that are designed to determine the extinguishing potential for each size and type of extinguisher. In the instance of class A fires, the numerical value is the size of fire in cubic metres that the extinguisher can put out.
For class B fires the numerical value represents the amount of litres of flammable liquid that can be extinguished. Class C fires have no numerical value as flammable gas is very difficult to measure in cubic metres - it depends on the ratio of gas to air there is in the local atmosphere. Class D fires have a numerical value, this represents size of fire in cubic metres that the extinguisher can put out. E Class fires have no numerical value please remember once the source of the electricity is shut down, the electrical fire will revert to a different class. The numerical value in F class fires is the same as in B class fires it represents the amount of litres of flammable liquid (cooking oils etc) that can be extinguished.

Section 3 - What are the types of fire extinguisher?

Fire Extingui shers Class Description O f F i r e WATER FIRE EXTINGUISHERS are especially designed for tackling Class A fires (wood, paper, straw, textiles, coal etc.). FOAM FIRE EXTINGUISHERS are ideally suited where both class A & B fire risks exist. Aqueous Film Forming Foam or AFFF is particularly suited to fight liquid spill fires such as petrol, oil, fats, paints etc. and works by forming a film on the liquid to extinguish the fire. This extinguisher has also passed the electrical conductivity test at 35kv. CARBON DIOXIDE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS are suitable for class B

Water Fire Extinguisher Foam Fire Extinguisher

CO2 Fire Extinguisher

Powder Fire Extinguisher

risks involving flammable liquids and especially for electrical hazards. These extinguishers have been a natural replacement for Halon. CO2 is harmless to electrical equipment and as such is ideal for modern offices, electronic risks, and fires caused by the combustion of liquids such as: oils, fats, solvents, etc. POWDER FIRE EXTINGUISHERS are especially suited to mixed fire risk environments and a good all round extinguisher. They are also suitable for flammable liquid risk, such as methane, propane, hydrogen, natural gas etc.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

WET CHEMICAL FIRE EXTINGUISHERS are especially designed for tackling cooking oil / deep fat fryer (Class F) fires, but also have an effective capability for extinguishing Class A fires (wood, paper, straw, textiles, coal etc.). This extinguisher has also passed the electrical conductivity test at 35kv.

Section 4 - How do fire extinguishers work?

Fire extinguishers come in 2 varieties Stored pressure and cartridge operated. Stored pressure fire extinguishers are fully pressurised cylinders that contain both the extinguishing substance AND propellant (in the form of compressed air or Nitrogen for Water, Powder, AFF Foam and wet chemical extinguishers). Carbon Dioxide extinguishers are only sold in stored pressure canisters as the CO2 itself is stored under pressure (so it is actually a liquid) and therefore the expanding gas propels itself from the extinguisher. As the handle is pressed down, the valve is opened and releases the compressed air, as this happens the extinguishant is carried out of the canister and passed down the hose onto the fire. Cartridge operated fire extinguishers are not pressurised they have a small CO2 cartridge that discharges into the cylinder when the extinguisher is activated and effectively turns it into a stored pressure extinguisher.

Section 5 - What are the regulations for fire extinguishers?

Where to fix your fire extinguisher Fix an extinguisher where you can reach it quickly. The best place is on an escape route, that is near an outside door, or on the route from the living areas to an outside door, or adjacent to a specific risk. It should be properly fixed to the wall at a height where it can be reached. Keep it out of the reach of children. Fire extinguishers should be fixed where they can be easily seen. Fixing them inside cupboards or behind doors will only waste valuable time if a fire breaks out. Do not place them over cookers or heaters or in places of extreme temperatures.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance The manufacturers instructions will tell you what you need to do to keep your extinguisher in good working order. After an extinguisher has been used, even if only partially, it must be recharged according to the manufacturers instructions. The extinguisher should be serviced annually. You should always use an accredited company for the supply and maintenance of your fire equipment or you risk your insurance cover being invalid. More information on this topic coming soon!

Section 6 - How Many Fire Extinguishers Do I Require ?

The amount required is calculated by the size of your premises and the risk involved. Guidelines when calculating (Please note that these are guidelines and are based on low risk premises):

The standards stipulate that no person should be more than 30 meters from a fire extinguisher The general guideline is 1 x 9L Water or Foam per 200sq Meters plus an extinguisher for special risk such as a Co2 for electrical or liquid fires If you have special circumstances or feel unsure please contact your local fire services (Fire Officer)

Fire Extinguisher - Technical Calculations

If your premises are single occupancy and not larger than 100sq Meters with an upper floor area of not more than 100 sq Meters then you will require a minimum fire test rating of 13A (which is the equivalent to 1 x 9L Water or greater than a 4Kg powder or greater than a 2Litre Foam) plus you should also have a fire extinguisher to cover any specific risks (i.e. Co2 for electrical risks or possibility of liquid fires) If your building is larger than 400sq Meters then there should be a minimum of 2 fire extinguishers per floor and each floor should not have less than a fire test rating of 26 A (2 x 9 L Water or 2 x greater than a 4Kg powder or 2 x greater than a 2 Litre Foam) plus you should also have a fire extinguisher to cover any specific risks (i.e. Co2 for electrical risks or possibility of liquid fires). The formula is 0.065 x floor area (in Square meters) and that will give you the Class A fire test rating that you need as a minimum. (All the fire extinguishers on our site have their rating printed) If you have special circumstances, feel unsure or feel that you may be a high risk please contact your local fire services (Fire Officer)

Please note that fire test ratings on fire extinguishers vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so please do not assume that any 2 fire extinguishers are the same. The fire extinguishers mentioned above are based on the products supplied by Jewel Fire Products Ltd T/A: ACT Fire & Safety. Disclaimer: Jewel Fire Products Ltd T/A: ACT Fire & Safety intends the above mentioned as guidelines and this should not be taken as law. The above mentioned is taken from the relevant British Standards. Jewel Fire Products Ltd T/A: ACT Fire & Safety will not be held responsible for

any misinterpretations or where a company uses the above and does not conform to the standard. Jewel Fire Products Ltd T/A: ACT Fire & Safety advises that where possible companies are unsure that they seek the advice from the local fire brigade (Fire Officer).

Fire Extinguishers - Example Situations

Office The most common combination and safest cover is 1 x 9L Water or 9L Foam and 1 x 2Kg Co2. The water or foam covers all Flammable solids like paper, carpet, curtains etc and the Co2 covers all electrical risk such as computers etc Industrial Premises The most common are Powder and Foam extinguishers coupled with Co2 for electrical risk. The Powder covers all risks and especially fires which react with water or foam, Foam is ideal for flammable liquid fires. Please note that this is for general circumstances, it may vary depending on what machinery is used and what is being stored. Industrial Kitchens This will depend mainly on the methods of cooking, but the most common are Co2 for electrical fires, Dry Powder for Flammable Gas (Gas Ovens) and Wet Chemical for Deep Fat Fires. There should also be a fire blanket installed. Residential A 1Kg powder or 2 Kg powder should be sufficient to cover all normal risks and this should be supplemented with a fire blanket. This should always be situated in the kitchen Vehicle A 1kg or 2 Kg powder extinguisher should always be situated near the front seats.

Section 7 - Where and how should we install our fire extinguishers ?

The extinguishers should be mounted on the wall (our fire extinguishers come with a ready to mount bracket) or on a stand with the handle approximately 1m from the ground; they should have the corresponding Identification Sign mounted above. The fire extinguishers should always be situated in a conspicuous position where they can readily be seen by persons following the escape routes. They should be located near room exits, in corridors, on stairway lobbies and landings on each floor. If you are unsure or require further advise please feel free to contact us on 0845 330 5406 and one of our qualified engineers will be able to offer you advice.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle. There are three general classes of residential fire extinguishers from which to choose:

Class A: For fires involving ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and plastics. Class B: For fires involving flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, solvents and oil-based paint. Class C: For fires involving energized electrical equipment such as wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery and appliances. For general living areas, choose a fire extinguisher rated A-B-C. For kitchens, garages and vehicles, choose an extinguisher rated B-C.

Where to use Fire Extinguishers It is natural for a person to use the extinguisher located nearest to a fire. This makes it essential that the correct type and size be placed in close proximity to a potential hazard. The most current issue of NFPA-10 should be consulted for minimum recommended fire extinguisher types, placement and travel distances. All fire extinguisher nameplates have either the letter or picture symbols shown below. Anyone who might be expected to use a fire extinguisher should be familiar with the letter or picture symbols identifying the type(s) of fire on which it may be used.

How to use Portable Fire Extinguishers New extinguishers are furnished with a detailed owners manual containing valuable information. The extinguisher nameplate contains the "How to Use" illustrations shown below. Potential operators should be very familiar with these instructions. The code for portable fire extinguishers regarding selection, distribution, inspection, maintenance, recharging and

hydrostatic testing is NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers.

Fire Extinguishers Inspection

Monthly Quarterly

SemiAnnual Other NFPA 10 annual CODE Fire extinguishers shall be inspected when initially placed 4-3.1 in service and thereafter at approximately 30-day intervals. Fire extinguishers shall be subjected to maintenance at intervals of not more than 1 4-4.1 year, at the time of hydrostatic test, or when specifically indicated by an inspection. Every 6 years, stored-pressure fire extinguishers that require a 12-year hydrostatic test shall 4-4.3 be emptied and subjected to the applicable maintenance procedures. 5-2 Refer to Table 5-2. 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 12 Years 12 Years A conductivity test shall be conducted annually on all 4-4.1.2 carbon dioxide hose assemblies.


6-Year Maintenance

Hydrostatic Test Pressurized Water Wetting Agent(s) AFFF Foam FFFP Foam Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Dry Chemical(s) Halogenated Agent(s) Hose Conductivity Testing

Restaurant & Kitchen Fire Extinguishers

Fire Systems, Inc. stocks the Amerex model 2160 and 2162 kitchen portable fire extinguishers to make sure you comply with the requirements for Class K fire extinguishers in kitchens. NFPA10 states, Class K fire extinguishers should be installed in kitchen areas where cooking oils and fats are used. These units contain a special potassium acetate based, low PH extinguishing agent developed for use in pre-engineered restaurant kitchen fire suppression systems. The recent trend toward more efficient cooking appliances and use of unsaturated cooking oils requires the use of hand portable extinguishers with greater fire fighting capacity and cooling effect to combat these very difficult fires. Two sizes are available, 2 1/2 gallon or six liter. Both units have attractive stainless steel cylinders and easy to use hose and spray application wands. The superior fire fighting capability of the wet chemical agent is placed exactly where aimed. There is no dry chemical residue left to clean up after discharge. Computer Room Fire Extinguishers

CleanGuard Fire Extinguishers

CleanGuard Extinguishers are designed for protection of light, ordinary and extra high hazards. These compact and portable extinguishers are suited for both industrial and commercial fire protection needs. Typical applications include: Computer rooms Essential communication areas Irreplaceable data, document, and art storage rooms Laboratories Sensitive/expensive equipment Non-magnetic (NM) units now available FE02VB 24610 (Included) 2.5 lb. 5.0 lb. 0.30 lb. FE05 429146 4.75 lb. 9.5 lb. 0.60 lb. FE09 422737 9.5 lb. 21.81 lb. 1.15 lb. FE13 30937 13.25 lb. 25.63 lb. 1.12 lb. 13.25 lb. 20.00 lb. 1.12 lb. FE13NM

MODEL: Bracket Part #: Agent Capacity: Charged Weight: Agent Flow Rate (per sec): Water Mist Fire Extinguishers

After eight years of research and testing of every known clean agent substitute for Halon 1211, Amerex Corporation developed a unique clean agent - the Water Mist fire extinguisher. Environmentally Clean Agent - Halon Alternative - Fire Extinguisher Water is non-toxic, has no ozone depletion potential, does not contribute to global warming and there is no concern about its atmospheric life. Its extinguishing properties are universally understood by novice and professional fire fighters alike. The replacement agent will always be available and is one of the least expensive fire fighting agents. The water mist fire extinguisher is clean and safe. It does not create a risk to the occupants or damage the surrounding equipment. Water mist is electrically non-conductive, and is very well suited to stop fires in their very early stages of development. The unique misting nozzle not only provides safety from electrical shock but also greatly enhances the cooling and soaking characteristics of the agent. Some of the better potential applications for water mist fire extinguishers include: Hospitals Health Care Facilities MRI Facilities Telecommunications Facilities Clean Rooms Electronic Equipment Manufacturing

Too Hot to Handle

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Cooking Fires:

Never leave cooking unattended

Two out of five deaths in home cooking fires occur because the cooking was unattended. Keep cooking area clean Always wipe appliances and surfaces after cooking to prevent grease buildup. Do not store flammable objects near the stove Curtains, pot holders, dish towels and food packaging can easily catch fire. Always turn pot handles toward the center of the stove Turning handles inward can prevent pots from being knocked off the stove or pulled down by small children. Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking Fires can occur when clothing comes in contact with stovetop burners. Heat cooking oil slowly Heating oil too quickly can easily start a fire. Never leave hot oil unattended. Teach children safe cooking Young children should be kept at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from the stove while older family members are cooking. Older children should cook only with permission and under the supervision of a grown-up.

What to do if Cooking Fire Starts:

Put a lid on it If a pan catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off the stove burner. Leave the lid on until completely cool! Keep oven or microwave door shut if fire starts Turn off the heat. If flames do not go out immediately, call the fire department. Know how to use a fire extinguisher Not all fire extinguishers are alike. They are designed for specific types of fire. Make sure you have a clear escape route and the fire department has been called before attempting to extinguish a small fire. Water and grease don't mix Never pour water on a grease fire. Water causes grease fires to spread. Know the emergency number for your fire department If the fire won't go out, call your local fire department from an outside phone.

Fire Extinguishers
Smoke alarms and escape plans are two of the most important components of your overall fire safety plan for your home or business. A third component of the your plan may include fire suppression equipment such as a fire extinguisher. We are all familiar with what a fire extinguisher looks like as we see them almost everyday in our place of work, schools and in shopping areas. The question is, do we know what to do in the event of fire and if you are using the correct type of fire extinguisher for the type of fire you encounter? Do you know how to safely and effectively use a fire extinguisher? First, we must understand that fire extinguishers are tools. A fire extinguisher is no substitute for a trained, properly equipped fire fighter. Fire extinguishers are small tools for a small fire. If you feel your safety is in danger - do not attempt to use a fire extinguisher. Instead, evacuate the area closing doors behind you to stop the spread of smoke, toxic gases, heat and fire.

Fire Extinguisher Ratings

Fires extinguishers are rated by the type or class and size of fire they are capable of extinguishing. Newer extinguishers use a picture or symbol of the type or class of fire they can by used to fight. Class A Extinguishers will put out fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood and paper. The numerical rating for this class of fire extinguisher refers to the amount of water the fire extinguisher holds and the amount of fire it will extinguish. The symbol you may see to designate the extinguisher may be used on a Class A fire is a green triangle with the letter A in the middle. Class B Extinguishers should be used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, oil, etc. The numerical rating for this class of fire extinguisher states the approximate number of square feet of a flammable liquid fire that a non-expert person can expect to extinguish. The symbol you may see to designate the extinguisher may be used on a Class B fire is a red square with the letter B in the middle. Class C Extinguishers are suitable for use on electrically energized fires. This class of fire extinguishers does not have a numerical rating. The presence of the letter C indicates that the extinguishing agent is nonconductive. The symbol you may see to designate the extinguisher may be used on a Class C fire is a blue circle with the letter C in the middle.

Class D Extinguishers are suitable for use on combustible metal fires. Because combustible metals are found generally in specialized processing areas, the class D rating is found only on extinguishers designed for combustible metal fires and rarely will a household fire involve these types of materials. There is no picture designator for Class D extinguishers. These extinguishers generally have no rating nor are they given a multi-purpose rating for use on other types of fires.

Multi Class Extinguishers are extinguishers available today can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more than one designator, e.g. A-B, B-C, or A-B-C. Make sure that if you have a multi-purpose extinguisher it is properly labeled.

Old & New Labeling

This is the old style of labeling indicating suitability for use on Class A, B, and C fires.

This is the new labeling style with a diagonal red line drawn through the picture to indicate what type of fire this extinguisher is NOT suitable for. In this example, the fire extinguisher could be used on Ordinary Combustibles and Flammable Liquids fires, but not for Electrical Equipment fires.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Dry Chemical extinguishers are usually rated for multiple purpose use. They contain an extinguishing agent and use a compressed, non-flammable gas as a propellant.

Halon extinguishers contain a gas that interrupts the chemical reaction that takes place when fuels burn. These types of extinguishers are often used to protect valuable electrical equipment since them leave no residue to clean up. Halon extinguishers have a limited range, usually 4 to 6 feet. The initial application of Halon should be made at the base of the fire, even after the flames have been extinguished.

Water: These extinguishers contain water and compressed gas and should only be used on Class A (ordinary combustibles) fires.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are most effective on Class B and C (liquids and electrical) fires. Since the gas disperses quickly, these extinguishers are only effective from 3 to 8 feet. The carbon dioxide is stored as a compressed liquid in the extinguisher; as it expands, it cools the surrounding air. The cooling will often cause ice to form around the horn where the gas is expelled from the extinguisher. Since the fire could re-ignite, continue to apply the agent even after the fire appears to be out.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Even though extinguishers come in a number of shapes and sizes, they all operate in a similar manner. Here's an easy acronym for fire extinguisher use:

P A S S - Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher that keeps the handle from being accidentally pressed.

Aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire.

Stand approximately 8 feet away from the fire and squeeze the handle to discharge the extinguisher. If you release the handle, the discharge will stop.

Sweep the nozzle back and forth at the base of the fire. After the fire appears to be out, watch it carefully since it may