We know what you’re thinking – every fire extinguisher is red. Wrong! Well, actually you’re still right, but there’s more to it than that. 

Have you ever noticed a coloured band at the top of your fire extinguisher? 

It’s more important than a decorative touch. Fire extinguisher colours give you important information about how to use each extinguisher. Want to find out more? Read on. 

Fire Extinguisher Colour Coding – What does it mean? 

At Jim’s Fire Safety, testing fire extinguishers is a part of our job. 

We need to know all about the different fire extinguisher types so that our inspections are complete, and any refills and recharges are conducted with the right ingredients. 

Let our expert team guide you through the different fire extinguisher colours and what they mean in New Zealand. 

Red Extinguisher (no band) 

This type of extinguisher is the least flamboyant member of the family. With no band at all, the plain red extinguisher contains water. It is suitable only for use on class A fires (involving combustibles such as paper, wood, rubber, cloth, and plastics). 

If you use this extinguisher on flammable liquids you could spread the flame. If you use a red extinguisher on an electrical fire you could receive an electric shock. 

Know your fire extinguisher. It could save your life. 

White Banded Extinguisher 

Next up is the white extinguisher. It isn’t the most exciting of the fire extinguisher colours, but don’t be deceived by appearances – the white extinguisher is one of the most versatile. 

Containing dry powder, this extinguisher is suitable for use on Class A, Class B (flammable liquids and gases), and Class E fires (electrical). There are different types of white extinguishers, so check the label before use. 

Black Banded Extinguisher 

This extinguisher is the black sheep of the family – not only because of its’ coloured band. Unlike the others, this extinguisher contains a gaseous substance – C02. 

By releasing C02 onto a flame, it interacts with (and neutralises) oxygen – one of the key components needed to fuel a fire. Pretty neat. 

This type of extinguisher is suitable for Class B and Class E fires. It will not work on a class A fire, so don’t try it. 

Blue Banded Extinguisher 

Feeling blue? You’ll be feeling better in no time when you correctly use the blue coloured extinguisher. It’s easy to identify with a bright blue band at the top. 

Make sure you only use this extinguisher on Class A and Class B fires. It contains a special foam that seals off the fire from the source of oxygen. 

Oatmeal Banded Extinguisher 

No, this extinguisher is not a snack or breakfast cereal. Oatmeal in colour but not in nature, this extinguisher contains a wet chemical substance that puts out a flame. 

The wet chemical fire extinguisher removes heat from the source. They are designed for use on Class F fires (involving cooking fats and oils) but they can also be used on Class A fires. 

Don’t use this extinguisher on a Class E fire unless you want an electric shock. 

Now you Know your Fire Extinguisher Colours! 

We hope you found this article helpful about how fire extinguisher colour coding works. 

If you have any questions, contact the Jim’s Fire Safety team today. We’re the experts who can take you through the ins and outs of all your fire safety needs. 

If you’re interested in any of our services, take a look through our website, fill in the online form, or call us to get a free quote.