Your five-part guide to fire extinguishers

There are 5 main fire extinguisher types – Water, Foam, Dry Powder, CO2 and Wet Chemical. You should have the right types of fire extinguisher for your premises, or you may not meet current regulations.

There are six classes of fire: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, ‘Electrical’, and Class F.

  • Class A fires – combustible materials: caused by flammable solids, such as wood, paper, and fabric

  • Class B fires – flammable liquids: such as petrol, turpentine or paint

  • Class C fires – flammable gases: like hydrogen, butane or methane

  • Class D fires – combustible metals: chemicals such as magnesium, aluminum or potassium

  • Electrical fires – electrical equipment: once the electrical item is removed, the fire changes class

  • Class F fires – cooking oils: typically a chip-pan fire

Over the coming months, I will explain the types of extinguishers and their use

Water Extinguishers

Water extinguishers are the most common fire extinguisher type for class A fire risk. Most premises will require either water or foam extinguishers.

Label Colour: – Bright Red

Use for:

– Organic/carbonaceous materials such as:

  • Paper and cardboard

  • Fabrics and textiles

  • Wood and coal

Do not use for:

  • Fires involving electrical equipment

  • Kitchen fires

  • Flammable gas and liquids

How water extinguishers work:

The water has a cooling effect on the fuel, causing it to burn much more slowly until the flames are eventually extinguished.

Types of premises/business who may need water extinguishers:

  • Buildings constructed of wood or other organic materials

  • Premises where there are organic materials to be found such as:

  • Offices

  • Schools

  • Hospitals

  • Residential properties

  • Warehouses

In fact most buildings need either water or foam extinguishers.

Where to locate water extinguishers:

  • By the exits on a floor where a Class A fire risk has been identified