Your five-part guide to fire extinguishers - part 2

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

In this part of your five-part guide, we will be looking at foam extinguishers.


Foam Extinguishers

Foam extinguishers are most common type of fire extinguisher for Class B fires, but also work on Class A fires as they are water-based.

Label Colour: – Cream

Use for:

•    Organic materials such as:
•    Paper and cardboard
•    Fabrics and textiles
•    Wood and coal


•    Flammable liquids, like paint and petrol
Do not use for:
•    Kitchen fires
•    Fires involving electrical equipment
•    Flammable metals

How foam extinguishers work:

As with water extinguishers, foam extinguishers have a cooling effect on the fuel. On burning liquids, the foaming agent creates a barrier between the flame and the fuel, extinguishing the fire.

Types of premises/business who may need Foam 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
•    Buildings where flammable liquids are stored

In fact most buildings need either water or foam extinguishers

Where to locate foam extinguishers:

– By the exits on a floor where a Class A or Class B fire risk has been identified