Know The Fire Classes Before Choosing An Extinguisher

by / Friday, 12 December 2014 / Published in Equipment, Fire Extinguisher, Fire Safety, Uncategorized

Fire fighting experts agree that there is a very short window of opportunity to extinguish a fire before it becomes unmanageable. Most damage and loss of life occurs once the blaze reaches a certain size, although a smouldering fire releasing toxic smoke in a confined space causes death from smoke inhalation. That being said, extinguishing a fire in its early stages prevents any of these devastating events from occurring at all.

The Fire Triangle

Some basic understanding of the nature of fire is essential before any common fire fighting techniques can be applied. The easiest way to explain how a fire thrives and spreads is to use the Fire Triangle. Put simply, a fire requires three basic components to be present to survive. Along one side of the triangle is air, along the other side is heat and at the base is fuel. Remove any of the sides of the Fire Triangle and the fire will be extinguished.

Fire extinguisher manufacturers use this principle when they design their products. There are a number of different types of extinguishers, depending on the type of fire being fought, and it is important to know what extinguisher is suitable for any particular type of fire. All of these extinguishers are available from London Fire and Safe, a Brisbane based company specialising in extinguishers, fire hose reels, sprinkler systems, fire alarms and panels, and fire safety training.

Different Classes of Fires Need Different Extinguishers

The dry chemical fire extinguisher is an excellent example of fighting a fire with the correct equipment. There are five classes of fire:

Class A – wood, paper, most plastics and rubber

Class B – flammable liquids

Class C – combustible gases

Class E – energised electrical equipment

Class F – cooking oils and fats.

Choosing the wrong extinguisher for a particular fire can have disastrous results. Using a water extinguisher on a Class F fire, for example, would cause the burning oil or fat to virtually explode over a wide area. On a Class E fire it could cause electrocution.

The Versatility of the Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher

Dry chemical fire extinguishers are the most versatile because they can be used safely on Classes A, B, and E fires, which are the most common domestic types. They are identified by a wide white band around the top of a red cylinder, and are available in a range of sizes that suit a caravan or home, up to the largest suitable for industrial situations.

When the trigger is squeezed it discharges a fine powder that absorbs molecules, effectively removing the fuel source, which is the base of the Fire Triangle. Once it dries, it can be cleaned up with a vacuum cleaner. The only disadvantage is that the cloud of powder on discharge can temporarily obstruct vision and cause respiratory irritation.

This inconvenience is far outweighed by its versatility, especially in a domestic environment where specific fire training is usually lacking. London Fire and Safe installs these types of extinguishers in homes, offices, commercial and industrial settings.