Choosing the right fire extinguisher for your business
If you run your own business, then there’s a good chance that you’ll need to have at least one fire extinguisher on your premises. After all, if a fire breaks out in your shop, warehouse or kitchen, then it’s vital that you have the right fire safety supplies available. This way, you can extinguish the fire immediately and ensure that no staff members or customers are harmed.
But, not only is it a legal requirement for most businesses to have a fire extinguisher installed, but any business that uses this tool must have the right type of fire extinguisher in place. Here, we’ll recap the five types of fire extinguisher available, so you can decide which is best for your business. But first, let’s take a look at the different classes of fire and what they mean.
Classes of fire explained
Distinguishing between the different ‘classes of fire’ is vital for fire safety. This is because not all fire extinguishers are suitable for each type of fire. In fact, the reverse is true, and if you use the wrong type of fire extinguisher at your business then you may actually make the fire worse rather than extinguishing it.
Overall, there are six classes of fire:
- Class A – Combustible materials
- Class B – Flammable liquids
- Class C – Flammable gases
- Class D – Burning metals
- Electrical fires (class E is not used to describe this)
- Class F – Cooking oils and fats
Finding the right extinguisher for your business
#1 Dry powder extinguishers
Dry powder extinguishers are multi-purpose tools. As a result, they are incredibly popular. These extinguishers work by spraying a fine chemical powder made mostly of monoammonium phosphate, which suffocates a fire.
Dry powder extinguishers are most commonly used for class A, class B, and class C fires.
#2 Carbon dioxide extinguishers
Carbon dioxide extinguishers (also known as CO2 extinguishers) spray a fire with CO2 and remove oxygen from the fire, suffocating it.
These extinguishers are commonly used to extinguish class B fires that involve flammable liquids. They can also be used to extinguish electrical fires.
#3 Wet chemical extinguisher
These extinguishers are specifically made to deal with class F fires, which involve cooking oils and fats. As a result, they’re commonly used in pubs and restaurants that use pans and deep fat fryers. However, they can also be used to extinguish class A fires.
These extinguishers first cool the fire down. Then, a chemical reaction takes place. This creates a thick substance that seals the liquid’s surface to prevent it from igniting again.
#4 Water fire extinguishers
The new technology that exists within these extinguishers can be used to fight class A fires.
The extinguishers release a great amount of mist in a foggy form. Due to this, they reduce the amount of oxygen in the air surrounding the fire and suffocate it. Plus, as the water particles move towards the fire, they cool it down.
#5 Foam fire extinguishers
Foam fire extinguishers are used to extinguish class A fires and the flammable liquids included in class B fires. However, they cannot be used to extinguish flammable gas fires.
These extinguishers work by spraying a foam that expands when it reaches the air. As a result, it acts as a fire blanket that starves the fire’s fuel source.
While foam fire extinguishers are usually used on flammable liquid fires (such as those that involve gasoline), they can also be used on class A fires that involve wood and similar materials.
By installing the right extinguishers in your business, you can keep your staff, customers and stock safe. If you take the right preventative steps now, you’ll be well protected if the worst-case scenario happens and you need to fight a fire on your property.
So, think about the threats to your business and how a fire may start. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have no problem picking the right type of extinguisher for your needs.