Why are there different fire extinguisher types?

Your first line of defence in a fire is a fire extinguisher. Having the right fire extinguisher type is crucial. Do you know which fire extinguisher type you need? Does it make a difference?

It pays to talk to the Fire Safety experts who can take you through everything to do with fire extinguishers and their uses.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about fire extinguisher type.

Fire Extinguisher types

What are the different fire extinguisher types?

Different types of fire need different types of fire extinguisher to put them out.

A fire can break out with different types of fuel – these are what are called different ‘classes’ of fire.

The specific fire risk that comes from each different class of fire determines which extinguisher type is needed.

There are 5 main fire extinguisher types but two versions of the Dry Powder Chemical fire extinguishers.

The main types of fire extinguisher are:

  • Dry Powder – ABE dry powder extinguishers can be used for all types of fires except cooking oils and fats. (Identifying mark is with a white band)
  • Carbon Dioxide or CO2 extinguishers are suitable for use where the fire is close to electrical equipment as they are clean, safe and non-conductive. (Marked with a black colour band)
  • Foam extinguishers are known as the most simple to use. These extinguishers are ideal for fires involving any flammable liquids. (These have a blue band as the marking)
  • Water extinguishers are only really suitable for use in tackling freely burning materials such as paper, fabric, wood and furniture. They can’t be used on any flammable and combustible liquids (such as oil or petrol) or cooking oils and fats. The water will actually spread the flames and make the fire more difficult to control. (These have NO colour band).
  • Wet Chemical extinguishers are for use on burning paper, fabric, wood and furniture as well as on cooking oil and fat fires. Not to be used on or near live electrical equipment. (Marked by a cream colour band)

The class of fire always determines which fire extinguisher type you should use.

The different classes of fire and their fuel

Different fire extinguishers types should be used for what class of fire you are likely to encounter.

  1. Class A – combustible materials: caused by flammable solids, such as wood, paper, and fabric
  2. Class B – flammable liquids: such as petrol, paints, turpentine or methylated spirits
  3. Class C – flammable gases: like natural gas, propane, butane or methane
  4. Class D – combustible metals: from chemicals such as aluminium, magnesium or potassium
  5. Electrical fires – involving electrical equipment
  6. Class F – cooking oils: typically a fire from a frying pan or pot

Some extinguishers can be ineffective or even dangerous when used on the wrong class of fire. Using the incorrect fire agent can mean the fire re-ignites even after appearing to be fully extinguished.

Asking for professional advice is a key to making sure your workplace or business is fire safe. You should have the right types of fire extinguisher for your house or business premises, or you may not meet the latest fire safety regulations.

Types of fire extinguishers

Where fire safety professionals make a difference

With all the complexities of the different classes of fire extinguishers available, it makes sense to get a team of trusted experts on your side.

You may not get a second chance when it comes to a fire emergency at your workplace. Your first step in fire safety should be talking to fire safety professionals. They can take you through the different fire extinguisher types, where to place them throughout the premises, identify fire safety risks and how to minimise the chances of a fire breaking out.

They can also ensure that your fire-fighting equipment is fit for purpose and regularly maintained. You can relax, knowing your fire safety compliance is taken care of.

Who are the fire safety team you can trust?

There’s only one trusted team you need to see for the very best in fire safety, – Jim’s Fire Safety.

Our technicians come highly trained and up to date with the latest national legislation. All maintenance services are performed in strict accordance with the NZS 4503:2005—Hand operated fire-fighting equipment.

Jim’s Fire Safety team can supply and install the hand-operated fire protection equipment you will need and all in accordance with the current fire safety regulations. Staying fire safe and compliant has never been easier.

Whether it’s fire equipment, fire safety maintenance, fire extinguisher inspections or any other fire safety issues you need addressed, Jim’s Fire Safety are here for you.

Talk to Jim’s Fire Safety today and be prepared for what tomorrow brings.

We’re the expert team you can always count on. Call us now or fill in the online form for a free quote HERE.