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

The fire extinguisher is an exemplary, portable, and dynamic tool for adequate fire protection, engineered to manage & suppress minor flames during emergencies. Its ingenious craftsmanship allows for choosing between dry and wet chemical compounds, ensuring versatility in extinguishing various fires. However, it is of utmost importance to recognize that a fire extinguisher may prove inadequate for combating uncontrollable fires, especially those that have escalated to the ceiling level, posing significant risks to the user. In such cases, the intervention of a well-equipped fire brigade, comprising skilled personnel and abundant resources, becomes indispensable for optimal fire suppression and management. There are two main fire extinguisher types: stored-pressure and cartridge-operated. The expellant and firefighting agent coexist within a single chamber in the uniquely designed stored-pressure variant. On the other hand, the cartridge-operated extinguishers employ an orchestrated method, where a separate cartridge, filled with excellent gas, is punctured just before discharge.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

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 are exclusively designed to combat Class A fires, encompassing ignited paper, wood, straw, coal, rubber, solid plastics, and soft furnishings. These red-coded extinguishers efficiently cover a broader surface area by discharging water from their nozzles. Notably, they are the most fundamental, widely employed, and cost-effective type out of all fire extinguisher types.

Water extinguishers operate by chilling and drenching flames and burning materials, effectively extinguishing fires. This process involves heat absorption, leading to the fire’s cessation. It is suitable for deployment in diverse locations, including businesses, warehouses, hotels, retail stores, schools, and residential buildings.

They excel in suppressing flames and are available with spray or jet nozzles, offering flexibility in application. However, it is crucial to understand that their efficacy is limited to Class A fires, and they should never be used on Class F (burning fat or oil), Class D (burning metals), Class B (burning liquids), or electrical appliance fires.

Prices for 3- or 6-liter models are around £25. Regular 9-litre versions are priced at £35, while freeze-protected variants cost £50. Some models employ chemical additives to enhance water efficacy, albeit at a slightly higher cost, reducing the extinguisher’s size and weight.

Foam Fire Extinguisher (Class A and B)

Foam fire extinguishers are effective against burning liquids like fuel, paint, or turpentine (Class A and B). However, they are unsuitable for fats and cooking oils (Class F). They can handle electrical fires but require rigorous testing and careful handling from a safe one-meter distance.

Noble as they are, these foam saviors bear a heavier burden on the purse strings than their water-based counterparts. They demand a princely sum of £25 for a single alternative, a more abundant offering of £55 for the generous 9-litre variant. In return, they vanquish fires with a masterstroke. They smother fiery adversaries in solid and liquid form (Class A and B).

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

Powder fire extinguishers exhibit remarkable versatility and high effectiveness in combating Class A, B, and C fires, addressing solids, liquids, and gases equally proficiently. Moreover, they boast specialized variants tailored to tackle type D fires involving flammable metals like lithium, magnesium, or aluminum.

The ingenious mechanism smothers the flames and forms a protective crust with the powder, thus effectively preventing further spread.

However, despite their efficacy, it is crucial to acknowledge certain limitations. These fire extinguisher types may not thoroughly penetrate materials, potentially leaving room for fire flare-ups after the initial suppression. Consequently, their optimal use lies in well-ventilated areas, making them less suitable for residential or workplace settings where inhaling the powder can pose risks. It is the only limitation of this extinguisher out of all types of fire extinguishers.

Furthermore, meticulous cleaning becomes imperative after deployment, as the powder can cause damage to soft furniture and equipment. It is important to note that powder fire extinguishers are inappropriate for extinguishing Class F chip pan flames.

With an impressive array of capacities ranging from 1kg to 9kg, these extinguishers offer budget-friendliness and potent firefighting capabilities. The cost of a 1kg model usually starts around £15. The 9kg variant costs approximately £35, making them accessible to many users.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguisher (Class B)

CO2 extinguishers use compressed carbon dioxide gas to extinguish flames without leaving any residue. Their primary mission is to respond to electrical fires caused by massive computer equipment.

They also handle Class B fires involving volatile substances. Carbon dioxide (CO2) effectively suffocates the flames when released. It ensures a low danger of electrical component damage and no short-circuit problems.

Interestingly, the operation of CO2 extinguishers can lead to a notable chill. To tackle this issue, some models feature innovative double-lined, frost-free swivel horns that prevent discomfort or finger freezing during deployment.

CO2 extinguishers are highly effective but not suitable for use with deep-fat fryers compared to other fire extinguisher types. In such scenarios, the forceful jet of gas may push burning fat outside the fryer, leading to the risk of asphyxiation in enclosed spaces. Additionally, flames might reignite after CO2 is released into the atmosphere, making these extinguishers unsuitable for providing post-fire security.

As effective as they are, extinguishers utilizing CO2 can be relatively pricey. For instance, a 2kg unit may cost approximately £33, while a more significant 5kg variant, suitable for server rooms and factories, can cost £65.

Despite the cost, their unique abilities and non-residue features justify their investment in safeguarding critical environments from potential fire hazards.

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 – Fire Extinguisher Types

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 – Fire Extinguisher Types

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.

Read More-

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

Leave a Reply