What is a Fire Extinguisher?
A fire extinguisher is a portable fire safety equipment or fire protection system used for extinguishing fires. This device consists of a cylinder with a directional nozzle, which is used to direct a spray of water, chemically generated foam, inert gas, or fine powder onto the fire at high pressure to put out and control even the small fires. Fire extinguishers (fire fighting equipment or fire prevention equipment) are metal cylinders or containers that contain and use different chemicals, depending on the application as nitrogen typically used with dry chemical extinguishers, and the air used with water and foam extinguishers.
What is Fire and its Classes?
Fire is a chemical reaction that needs fuel, oxygen, and heat to burn. The chemical reaction of fire is called combustion, which happens when fuel reacts with oxygen to release heat energy. Either the combustion can slow or fast, but it all depends on the volume of oxygen available. Even the combustion outcomes in a flame are fast and called it as burning. The flames or fires occur when small particles of the combustible material or fuel (wood, gasoline, flammable oil, electrical equipment, etc.) are heated to the point of burning and shot upward.
There are several classes of fire-based primarily on the fuel source. Here is a list of different classifications of fire.
Class A - fires connecting solid materials such as wood, fabric, paper or textiles, trash, and plastics
Class B - fires connecting flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, flammable oils, and certain types of paint
Class C - fires connecting gases and electrical components
Class D - fires connecting combustible metals
Class E - fires connecting live electrical apparatus (Technically ‘Class E’ doesn’t exist)
Class F or Type K - fire connecting cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers; liquid cooking materials in the kitchen such as greases, cooking oils, vegetable fat, and animal fat
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VariEX® fire extinguishers are even portable devices and used to apply an agent that will extinguish the burning fuel or remove oxygen so the fire cannot continue to burn. Variexonline ensures that its entire range of extinguishers is inspected as per the International Safety & Quality Standard, confirming the proper safety of the end-users. A portable fire extinguisher on the VariEx brand can control the small fires quickly. It is advisable to fix the fire extinguishers throughout every building on campus. To properly use an extinguisher, you should know the types of fire extinguishers and their operation or use.
Types of Fire Extinguishers and their uses as per Classes of Fire
There are mainly five different types of extinguishers (fire extinguisher types) such as Water, Foam, Dry Powder, CO2, and Wet Chemical available to extinguish the fire. There is not any single extinguisher type that works on all classes of fire.
WATER FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Water type fire extinguishers are the most common fire extinguisher used for class A fire risk. The water has a cooling effect on the material or fuel, which is capable of extinguishing the fire. There are two categories of extinguishers, i.e., water spray and water mist. Water spray extinguishers are fitted out with a spray nozzle that means a greater surface area can be covered more quickly and put out the fire more rapidly. Water mist extinguishers are equipped with different types of nozzles that release with microscopic water particles to create a wall of mist between the fire and the person using the extinguisher, and reducing the feeling of heat. Moreover, it is recommended to locate water type extinguishers at the exit point of every floor where a Class A fire risk can be identified.
Uses of water or type A extinguishers:
· Houses and other buildings constructed of wood or other organic materials
· Residential properties
FOAM FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Foam type fire extinguishers are one of the popular type of extinguishers and used for Class B fire risk. The mechanical foam fire extinguisher also works on Class A fires as they are water-based. As like the water extinguishers, foam extinguishers also have a cooling effect on the fuel and the foaming agent creates a barrier between the flame and the fuel for extinguishing the fire. It is advisable to locate the foam extinguisher at the exits on a floor where a Class A or Class B fire risks can recognize.
Uses of foam or type B extinguishers:
· Residential properties
· Buildings where flammable liquids are stored
DRY POWDER FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Dry powder type fire extinguishers are also known as ABC fire extinguishers because as they used for class A, B, and C fire risk. ABC powder extinguishers use on some electrical fires. However, they are not recommended using in enclosed spaces. Dry chemical powder extinguishers are used to cool down the fires by forming a barrier between the fuel and the source of oxygen.
Uses of dry powder / ABC type fire extinguishers:
· Businesses using flammable gases for chemical processes
· Premises where welding and flame cutting works takes place
· Premises with large, commercial boiler rooms
· Garage forecourts
· Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) dispensing plants
CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2) FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Carbon dioxide type fire extinguishers are also called CO2 extinguishers used for electrical fire risks. They are also used to put out Class B fires (flammable liquids, such as paint and petroleum). Carbon dioxide or CO2 extinguishers work in such a way to suffocate fires by displacing the oxygen the fire needs to burn. It is recommended to place the carbon dioxide fire extinguishers near to the source of the fire exits and also in working vehicles.
Uses of carbon dioxide / CO2 type extinguishers:
· Construction sites
· Computer server rooms
WET CHEMICAL FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Wet chemical type extinguishers are designed and used for Class F or Class K fire risks. This a particular type of extinguisher can also use on Class A fires (although it is more usual to have a foam or water extinguisher for this type of fire risk). Wet chemical fire extinguishers create a layer of foam (has a cooling effect) on the surface of the burning cooking oil or fat, preventing oxygen from fueling the fire any further.
Uses of wet chemical / K type extinguisher:
· Commercial kitchens
· Hospital cooking areas, etc.
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