Your five-part guide to fire extinguishers - part 4

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 Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguishers.

CO2 extinguishers are predominantly used for electrical fire risks and are usually the main fire extinguisher type provided in computer server rooms. They also put out Class B fires (flammable liquids, such as paint and petroleum).

Label Colour: Black

Use for:

•    Flammable liquids, like paint and petrol
•    Electrical fires

Do not use for:

•    Kitchen fires – especially chip-pan fires
•    Combustible materials like paper, wood or textiles
•    Flammable metals

How CO2 extinguishers work:

CO2 extinguishers suffocate fires by displacing the oxygen the fire needs to burn.
Types of premises/business who may need CO2 extinguishers:

•    Premises with electrical equipment, such as:
•    Offices
•    Kitchens
•    Construction sites
•    Server rooms

All work vehicles should also carry a smaller 2kg CO2 extinguisher.

Where to locate CO2 extinguishers:

•    Place near to the source of the fire risk and/or near the fire exits