Complete Guide on 10 Main Fire Extinguisher Types: Uses & Diagram

A fire extinguisher is a handy tool for putting out small fires in emergencies. There are two fire extinguisher types: stored-pressure and cartridge-operated. The stored-pressure type has both the expellant and firefighting agent in one chamber, while the cartridge-operated type uses a separate cartridge with gas. These types of fire extinguishers are versatile, using dry or wet chemicals to tackle different types of fires. However, it’s crucial to understand their limits. For large, uncontrollable fires, especially those reaching the ceiling, a well-equipped fire brigade with skilled personnel is essential for effective suppression. Remember, a fire extinguisher is great for minor fires, but for major emergencies, call the professionals.

In this article, we will see all the different types of fire extinguishers with their functions, pictures, and applications in various sectors.

Types of Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher Types, Names & Pictures

Fire Extinguishers Types

  • Water-Fire Extinguisher (Class A)
  • Foam Fire Extinguisher (Class A and B)
  • Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguisher (Class B)
  • Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher (Class A & F)
  • Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)
  • Water Mist Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, C, and F)
  • Halon Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)
  • Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
  • Water Spray Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguisher Types and Uses

Water-Fire Extinguisher (Class A)

Water extinguishers, marked with a red color, are designed for Class A fires involving materials like paper, wood, rubber, and plastics. They are basic, widely used, and cost-effective.

These types of fire extinguishers discharge water to cool and drench flames, putting out fires by absorbing heat. Suitable for various places like businesses, warehouses, hotels, and homes.

They are effective against Class A fires, using spray or jet nozzles for flexibility. However, they should not be used on oil, metal, liquid, or electrical fires.

Prices range from £25 for 3- or 6-liter models to £50 for freeze-protected versions with chemical additives for enhanced efficacy.

Foam Fire Extinguisher (Class A and B)

Foam fire extinguishers are good for putting out fires caused by liquids like fuel or paint (Class B) but are not suitable for fats and cooking oils (Class F). They can also be used on electrical fires, but they require careful handling from a safe distance.

While effective, these foam extinguishers are more expensive than water-based ones. A single unit costs £25, and a larger 9-litre option is available for £55. Despite the cost, they excel at tackling fires involving solid and liquid materials (Class A and B).

Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)

Powder fire extinguishers are versatile and effective against various types of fires (A, B, C), including those involving solids, liquids, and gases.

They have special versions for fires with flammable metals. The mechanism smothers flames, forming a protective crust to prevent further spread.

However, they may not penetrate materials thoroughly, leaving room for flare-ups. Best used in well-ventilated areas due to powder inhalation risks, they might not be suitable for homes or offices.

Cleaning is crucial after use, as the powder can damage furniture. Not ideal for Class F chip pan fires.

Available in 1kg to 9kg capacities, they offer cost-effective firefighting (starting at £15 for 1kg and approximately £35 for 9kg), but consider limitations for specific environments.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguisher (Class B)

CO2 extinguishers use compressed carbon dioxide to put out fires, especially those involving electrical equipment and flammable liquids.

They work by suffocating the flames without leaving any residue. While effective, they can cause a noticeable chill during operation, but some models address this with frost-free swivel horns.

These types of fire extinguishers are not ideal for deep-fat fryers as the forceful gas jet can spread burning fat, posing asphyxiation risks. Also, they may not provide post-fire security as flames can reignite after CO2 is released.

Despite their effectiveness, CO2 extinguishers can be costly, with a 2kg unit priced around £33 and a larger 5kg variant for server rooms and factories costing £65. Their unique abilities make them worth the investment in safeguarding critical environments.

Read More- Guide of 12 Essential Parts of Fire Extinguisher: Names & Diagram

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher (Class F)

In addition to water mist, the specialized extinguishers designed for Class F oil fires, which involve fats and cooking oils, prove exceptionally valuable in kitchen settings that house deep-fat fryers. These extinguisher types exhibit remarkable efficacy against Class F flames but also against Class A and Class B fires.

Comprising a pressurized solution of alkali salts dissolved in water, they generate a fine mist upon activation, capable of rapidly cooling the flames while mitigating any potential splashing hazards. What sets them apart is their extraordinary ability to handle various fire classes.

Its prices start at £35 for the 2-liter capacity, £70 for the 3-liter variant, and £110 for the 6-liter size. Despite their higher cost, their unparalleled effectiveness in fire suppression makes them a worthy investment for safety-conscious establishments.

Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)

A clean agent is a remarkable gaseous fire suppressant that can be stored in a liquid state. It effectively tackles Class A fires involving ordinary solids, Class B fires with flammable liquids, and Class C fires with combustible gases.

Remarkably, these fire extinguishers can also be deployed on electrically ignited flames. They are specifically engineered to safeguard buildings with electrical panels or electronic devices while leaving no residue.

Extinguishers utilizing clean agents operate by smothering fires, presenting an exceptional approach to combating electrical fires without restoring power to the user. This distinct method sets them apart and makes them an extraordinary choice for fire safety.

The uniqueness of these extinguishing agents lies in their ability to neutralize fire hazards while maintaining the utmost safety and cleanliness. Such a feature makes them a prime selection for safeguarding sensitive environments and critical equipment in all fire extinguishers types.

Water Mist Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, C, and F)

The Water Mist Fire Extinguisher is an innovative device that emits a fine mist of “dry” demineralized water particles. It harnesses immense power within its compact form & effectively tackles Class A, B, C, and F fires. It renders the need for multiple fire extinguisher types obsolete in most establishments.

Moreover, select water mist extinguishers have been crafted to combat electrical fires on 1,000-volt equipment, a feature that further enhances their utility and safety.

This fire extinguisher type operates remarkably efficiently by swiftly reducing the fire’s temperature and curtailing the oxygen supply. It leaves no residue or collateral damage, cementing its reputation as the go-to choice to replace wet chemical extinguishers in dealing with deep-fat fryer fires.

Embodying an environmentally conscious approach, they are chemical-free and entirely recyclable, mirroring the attributes of traditional water extinguishers.

However, it is essential to note that the Water Mist Fire Extinguishers should not be used on Class D (metal) fires due to their specific nature and requirements.

Water mist extinguishers command a higher cost, ranging from approximately £50 for a 1-liter unit to £100 for a 6-liter variant. Nevertheless, this investment in safety is unmatched, securing unparalleled protection against a diverse range of fire hazards.

Halon Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)

The excellent Halon 1211 fire extinguisher features a cutting-edge carbon dioxide-like agent designed for easy installation in cold regions and leaves no residual trace. Halon production has been halted due to its negative influence on the Earth’s valuable ozone layer. Nonetheless, giant Halon 1211 fire extinguisher models are legally authorized to extinguish Class A, B, and C flames.

Bromochlorodifluoromethane (Halon 1211) has at least twice the potency of carbon dioxide in terms of weight-to-agent effectiveness. It makes it a competitive firefighting rival. Upon ejection, it changes into a mesmerizing gas/mist combination. Its incredible range is nearly double that of regular carbon dioxide.

However, extinguishment may be difficult under windy situations or when confronted with solid air currents since these environmental variables disperse the chemical quickly throughout the surrounding atmosphere.

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher

Ordinary Dry Chemical

Fire extinguishers utilize excellent powder particles as extinguishing agents. Two options are available: one is based on sodium bicarbonate, and the other on potassium bicarbonate. These dry chemical extinguishers undergo special treatment techniques to prevent packing and moisture absorption, ensuring smooth flow capabilities.

Multipurpose Dry Chemical

One remarkable characteristic of this fire extinguisher type is its ammonium phosphate-based agent. While it functions similarly to standard dry chemical agents when dealing with Class B fires, it exhibits a unique behavior when applied to Class A flames.

Upon contact with hot surfaces, the multifunctional agent softens and adheres, forming a protective covering that effectively smothers and isolates the fuel from the surrounding air.

Additionally, the chemical exerts a gentle cooling effect. However, due to its surface-coating nature, the agent faces challenges in penetrating deep-seated flames unless released beneath the surface or when the burning material is fragmented and dispersed.

Water Spray Fire Extinguishers

Water spray fire extinguishers, offered in sizes of three and six liters, prove highly effective for combating flames involving organic solid materials such as wood, fabric, paper, plastics, or coal. However, their use must strictly prohibit dealing with burning electrical or petroleum products.

The proper method of utilization involves skillfully directing the jet towards the base of the flames and then gradually and continuously advancing it across the fire until complete extinguishment is achieved.

Instead of a conventional jet nozzle, employing a specially designed spray nozzle enhances the extinguishing process. This alteration increases pressure, generating a finer spray that strikes a larger surface area. Consequently, heat is dissipated rapidly, hastening the extinguishing efforts.

Surfactants can be judiciously added to the water to optimize the extinguishing potential further. Including surfactants facilitates deeper penetration into the burning substance, bolstering the extinguishing action and ensuring an efficient resolution of the fire incident.

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How many types of fire extinguishers?

There are ten types of fire extinguishers.
Water-Fire Extinguisher (Class A)
Foam Fire Extinguisher (Class A and B)
Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguisher (Class B)
Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher (Class A & F)
Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)
Water Mist Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, C, and F)
Halon Fire Extinguisher (Class A, B, and C)
Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
Water Spray Fire Extinguishers

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