Types of Fire Extinguishers: All You Need to Know

28Jan 2020

Although all fires might look the same, every fire is in fact different, and this depends on the cause of the fire and the area or location it is situated in. As there are different types of fire, this calls for different methods in order to put them out. Because of this, there are actually various types of fire extinguishers available, and it is important that you are aware of them and know what each of them are used for, so that if you are ever in a scenario where you need to stop a fire, you know the safe and correct way to do so. 

All in all, there are a total of five different types of fire extinguishers that we use in the UK. it is vitally important to know which type to use on a fire, because if you use the wrong one, this can be incredibly dangerous and make matters a lot worse. So, we thought we would tell you about each of the different ones and how they should be used…


Water extinguisher

Water extinguishers go by the colour code red. They are used on wood, paper, textiles etc. and cannot be used on flammable liquid or live electrical equipment. This means that they are only suitable to be used on solid combustibles. As water is of course a conductor, it is vitally important that you never use these extinguishers on any electrics, as it will cause the fire to become much worse and you can put yourself in a lot of danger by doing so. 


Foam extinguisher

Foam extinguishers are the most common type of fire extinguisher that you will find. The colour code for these is pale yellow, and you will find this on every foam extinguisher as with all other types of extinguishers to enable you to differentiate. Similarly to water extinguishers, foam can be used on wood, paper and textiles, however can also be used on flammable liquids. You must not use foam on any live electrical equipment. When used in the correct scenario, foam extinguishers are highly effective in putting out fires and stopping them from reigniting. 


Powder extinguisher

Powder extinguishers have the colour code blue, and are compatible with just about everything, meaning you can use them on most types of small fires. You are able to use them on wood, paper and textiles, flammable liquids, live electrical equipment, and gas fires. Although powder extinguishers are highly effective and great for putting out any type of fire, it is recommended that you use them outdoors as opposed to small confined areas to avoid powder inhalation.


Carbon dioxide extinguisher

You will find carbon dioxide extinguishers with the colour code black. Quite the opposite to water and foam, carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are used on flammable liquids and live electrical equipment, but cannot be used on wood, paper and textiles or flammable metal fires. Furthermore, you also should not use these in small confined spaces, as this can be harmful and dangerous to you. These extinguishers are the best tool to put out electrical fires.


Wet chemical extinguisher

Wet chemical extinguishers are colour coded bright yellow, so you can clearly differentiate this from foam extinguishers. They are to be used on wood, paper and textiles along with cooking oil fires. They are specifically designed for fires in the kitchen involving cooking oil and fat. They should not be used on substances including petrol, diesel and paint. 

If you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via our contact page and we will be more than happy to help.

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