The right fire extinguisher can stand between paying for proper safety equipment or losing your establishment, commercial space, offices, and homes entirely to fire and smoke damage. At the end of the day, safety should always be prioritized no matter the cost. And when it comes to fires, a protection system can be the perfect way to meet your risk management needs.
So how do you select the right type of fire extinguisher? There are many different types to choose from, each using various substances effective for different types of fires, making it especially important to know what kind of fire you’re dealing with before making a purchase.
It can sometimes be overwhelming to know what fits your specific needs and where to source it hence, it’s a must to do your research and contact the most suitable fire protection services.
Types of Fire
There are different kinds of fire, and each type requires a specific kind of extinguishant. When you are aware of the types, you can better prepare for this safety hazard. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the types are classed and they are:
- Class A fires – solid combustibles like wood, paper, and plastic
- Class B fires – flammable liquids like gasoline, paints, lacquers, and other oil-based products
- Class C fires – electrical equipment like wiring, appliances, motors, and machinery
- Class D fires – burning flammable metals like lithium and titanium
- Class K fires – cooking fats and oils found in commercial kitchens
How to Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are one of the most essential fire safety equipment. Before jumping right in, read these tips to help you decide better.
Identify the hazard you might face.
Different kinds of fire extinguishers address different types of fires. Each type has a chemical compound to help put out an electrical fire, a liquid fire, or a combustible-liquid fire. Using the wrong type may result in reignition or failure to put out the fire. Choosing the correct extinguisher for each situation can ensure you have enough protection against all types of fires. Consider the types of fires likely to occur in your area and the time you have to put out the fire before it spreads too far.
Know the ABCs of Fire Extinguishers.
You don’t want just any fire extinguisher. You need one appropriate for your situation. Remember the ABCs of a fire extinguisher. A Class A extinguisher is for wood, paper, and fabric fires; a Class B for flammable liquids and gasses; and a Class C for electrical fires.
Choose an appropriate size for your needs.
Fire extinguishers come in many sizes— from small handheld units that you can hold with one hand up to units that may require several people. There are pros and cons for each size so it’s best to consider your needs before buying.
1.) Measure the size of the room and note how many square feet it is.
2.) Estimate how fast the fire can spread if given the situation.
3.) Make sure the extinguishers are in areas where everyone will be able to reach them quickly in case of an emergency.
Some common sizes for small offices are 5 pounds (2kg to 4kg), and 10 (4kg/6kg/9kg) pounds fit bigger spaces like warehouses and garages.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
Different fires require different kinds depending on your area size and the hazard you might face. It’s best to have an idea to determine which one fits best for you and your establishment.
Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
Dry chemical extinguishers are one of the most common types of extinguishers. It releases a layer of chemical powder onto the flame that coats the fuel, separating it from the oxygen in the air. The powder also works to interrupt the chemical reaction of fire, making this type of extinguisher extremely effective at putting out a fire. It comes in variations namely: ABC (Class A, B, and C), DC (dry chem), and BC (B and C fires).
Best for: Class A and B
Ideal place: buildings made of organic materials, storage units, warehouses, schools
Foam Fire Extinguisher
It is also known as the AFFF fire extinguisher and is used for Class A and B fires. It can also be used for fires involving electrical devices only if it has passed the 35kv conductivity test, a safety measure designed to safeguard people who might use a foam fire extinguisher to put out an electrical fire. Although if possible, don’t use it on electrical devices as you may get an electric shock.
Best for: Class A and B
Ideal place: schools, hospitals, office buildings
Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher
A wet chemical fire extinguisher is used to fight class K fires, caused by cooking fuel like animal and vegetable fats or oils. It contains a solution of potassium that attacks a fire in two ways: First, the mist cools the flames and lowers their temperature so they can’t spread; and second, it creates a soapy, non-flammable barrier between the fat and oil.
Best for: Class A and Class F
Ideal place: restaurants, kitchens
Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher
Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers have a longer shelf life, and are heavier but they’re effective. Carbon dioxide extinguishers have horns made of hard plastic and lack pressure gauges. It has non-flammable CO2 under extreme pressure. When you use one of these extinguishers, you may see pieces of dry ice come out of the horn.
The main advantage of carbon dioxide is that it quickly snuffs out electrical fires, which are among some of the most dangerous and has minimal residue. These work best in Class B and C. The CO2s may not effectively extinguish Class A fires because materials like wood may also re-ignite.
Best for: Class B and C
Ideal place: kitchens, mechanical rooms, and laboratories
Water is a great extinguishing agent and can be used effectively on Class A fires. Water extinguishers come in four varieties: water jet, water with additives, water spray, and fogger.
- Water jet extinguishers spray a steady stream of water at the burning materials, cooling them without the risk of reignition.
- Water spray extinguishers use a fine spray of water droplets, each surrounded by air. The air is not conductive so the water can put out fires.
- A water mist, or fog, extinguisher releases a fine spray of water with droplets so small that it evaporates almost immediately. The large surface area of the droplets absorbs more heat energy than the larger droplets from a water spray extinguisher, which results in faster cooling.
Best for: Class A
Ideal place: buildings made of organic materials, and hospitals
Halotron Fire Extinguishers
Halotron 1 is one of the newer models and a multi-purpose clean agent portable fire extinguisher. It is ideal for telecommunication facilities, robotics laboratories, and any high-tech facility that requires an effective clean agent fire suppression agent. It is fit for protecting valuable assets in a room because it is safe, effective, and environmentally friendly. It won’t leave behind a solid residue that needs to be cleaned up after extinguishment.
Best for: Class A, B, and C
Ideal place: data centers, military electronics, warehouses, manufacturing plants, general office areas, telecommunication facilities
Source For A Range of Fire Extinguishers
If you are looking for the best fire prevention products and systems in Singapore, first make sure that the manufacturer is reliable and trustworthy. Hart Engineering Pte Ltd. offers a complete range of fire protection services like engineered smoke control systems, fire suppression systems, and alarm systems. Among the most trusted in the industry, with 45 years of experience under its belt, we are your partner for these proven solutions against all types of fire hazards.
While it’s easy to get by with off-the-shelf extinguishers, it is still best to ask for help from a specialist. Contact us today to meet your fire prevention needs.