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Fire Extinguishers Explained

Remember a fire extinguisher in a place can save lives

When you're considering what fire extinguishing products you might need for your premises, once you take all factors into consideration such as for example, What risks do I have? Where would I locate my extinguishers correctly? What if I buy the wrong type? How many do I need? How do I fulfill my legal obligation and avoid possible prosecution?... the list goes on, you can see that it becomes a minefield where you need to tread carefully to make sure you get it right, from both a safety and a compliance standpoint.

Fortunately, by reading this you've already come to the right place. Fire Extinguishers North West will take away any stress or confusion stress over this, as we can offer you the complete fire extinguisher service, covering any needs you might have, from new service contracts, supplying, installation, maintenance, hiring, or even just to give you the right advice, we're the experts when it comes to fire extinguishing products...we won't talk technical jargon or baffle you with science, we much prefer the uncomplicated, easy to understand approach, so you know exactly what we're doing for you and why. Unlike many of our competitors, FENW offer a simple, cost-effective solution, with no hidden costs... what you see is what you get, and that's great, comprehensive service. The bonus with Fire Extinguishers North West is, that as well as the high quality service we will provide, and our friendly and approachable way of working, we're sure you'll like our prices!

So...Which Extinguishers Do You Need?

The importance of choosing and using the correct fire extinguisher can't be underestimated. Use the wrong one and the potential to cause injury to yourself, and possibly not extinguishing the fire or even making things much worse as well, is definitely there. Different extinguishers are intended for successful use on different types of fire, some will have no effect on a particular type of fire, others would make things a lot worse!

Below is a guide to what types of extinguishing products are out there and that we at North West Fire Extinguishers can provide, and what their intended uses are. During our visit to you, we conduct a survey to assess your building and it's risks and provide you with a report of exactly what you need under current legislation, where we will install them, what type of extinguisher(s), and how many, and will explain why.

UK fire extinguishers should be built in accordance with British Standard BS EN3, and the colour of the body shall be red, a zone of colour up to 10% of the body may be used to identify the extinguishing agent (BS7863).

the different kinds of fire extinguishers

Extinguishers are classed as to what they are used to extinguish, and each type has their advantages and disadvantages; when assessing your premises and any risks involved, the FENW team will fully explain and the reasons why we recommend a certain type(s) of extinguisher for your needs.

Here is a basic guide to what type of extinguishers are available and their various uses:

Water Extinguishers - RED BAND

A Water extinguisher

CLASS A FIRES - For use on CLASS A fires only- solid, organic materials, eg. paper, wood, plastic, textiles etc. They are the most common, cheapest and widely used extinguishers, but limited in what they can be used on ie. Useless and/or dangerous to use on other types of fire

Foam Extinguishers - CREAM BAND

A Foam extinguisher

CLASS A and B FIRES - These are more ideal for CLASS B fires, which are flammable liquids, such as oils, petrol, paraffin, solvents, paints etc., and liquefiable solids eg. Plastic, wax, grease etc, but are more versatile as they could also be used on CLASS A fires, but to less effect than a water extinguisher. As such they cost slightly more than water extinguishers.

Dry Powder Extinguishers - BLUE BAND

A powder extinguisher

CLASS A, B and C fires - Dry Powder extinguishers are the most versatile and 'multi-purpose' extinguishers, due to the wide range of uses they have; they are suitable for A, especially B and also Class C, flammable gas eg. Propane, Butane, Methane fires (although these fires should only be tackled by a specialist eg, Firefighter).

Special Dry Powder Extinguisher - BLUE BAND

A special dry powder extinguisher

CLASS D Fires - These Special powder extinguishers, with their distinctive application hose, are for use combustible Metals such as Magnesium, Lithium, Titanium, Aluminium etc, for CLASS D fires only, and NOT to be confused with ordinary dry powder Blue Band extinguishers. The hose and nozzle is designed to 'gently' apply the powder to form a crust that insulates the metal and smothers the fire so oxygen can't reach the metal.

Wet Chemical Extinguisher - YELLOW BAND

A wet chemical extinguisher

CLASS F Fires - Also known as the 'Fry Fighter', these are ideal for tackling deep fat fryer and cooking oil fires (Class F), using a chemical mist spray to cool the flame front whilst making the fat 'soap-like' and producing a foam to cover the liquid's surface. In addition, they can also tackle general household fires (Class A).

Carbon Dioxide CO2 Extinguisher - BLACK BAND

A CO2 extinguisher

CLASS B and "E" Fires - CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Extinguishers are suitable for class B risks, involving flammable liquids and can be used for electrical hazards. CO2 is harmless to electrical equipment and is ideal for modern offices and electronic risks. Disadvantage is that it doesn't cool the fire well enough to totally rule out re-ignition.

You may also see the "Lightning" symbol on some extinguishers, sometimes (wrongly!) described or classed as CLASS E fires...meaning they can be used on fires where ELECTRICITY poses a risk or hazard in the vicinity- Electricity is an ignition source, not a fuel.

Water Mist Extinguishers - WHITE BAND

A water mist extinguisher

CLASS A, B, C, "E" & F Fires - Water Mist is a new technology in extinguishers that is extremely versatile, using a special nozzle to create microscopic particles of water to cool the fire, suffocate it and then cool the substance that was alight to prevent re-ignition. Water mist extinguishers are ideal for covering areas of a building where multiple fire risks can be found, the downside being the higher cost.

Fire Blanket

A fire blanket

CLASS B & F Fires - A fireproof blanket for use on small or contained B or F fires, ideal in kitchens eg. Chip Pan, waste bins, or to wrap around a casualty with clothing on fire. Fire Blankets extinguish the fire by smothering to exclude any oxygen, and are relatively inexpensive.

In summary, these easy charts give an at-a-glance guide to fire extinguishers, colour coding and their uses:

Table showing the diffrent kinds of fire and what you can use

Fire extinguishers signage

Fire Extinguishers North West

Help is at hand

Whatever the problems don't panic we can advise you of the best solution and try to work within your budget to achieve compliance. Whether you are in Greater Manchester, Liverpool Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria we are only are short drive away.