16Jul 2012
by Nick Potter

Fire Extinguisher Types

Fire Extinguishers Types Available In The UK

The selection of fire extinguishers available in the UK is one of the largest selections in the world.  There are several manufacturers / distributors based in the British Isles who can provide fire extinguishers to cater for the needs of all buildings within the country.

Fire Extinguisher Types

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So what fire extinguisher types are available?

The main standard fire extinguisher types seen in most of the UK’s buildings are water, foam, ABC dry powder, CO2 and wet chemical.

Following is a short description of the Fire Extinguisher Types available:-

Water Fire Extinguishers

A Water Fire Extinguisher is the most common fire extinguisher type in the UK.  Water units come in various sizes, although the 9 Litre version is the most common.  Water Fire Extinguishers are ideal for tackling category A fires.  A category A fire is a flammable solid fire, which may include wood or paper.  The different sizes of extinguisher have different fire ratings, the appropriate extinguisher should be used according to the fire risk within your building.  Water Fire Extinguishers should not be used under any circumstances to tackle an electrical fire.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

Foam Fire Extinguishers are designed to tackle both Category A and Category B types of fires.  These fires are flammable solid fires (Category A) and flammable liquid fires (Category B).  A Foam Fire Extinguisher should be positioned appropriately where there is a risk of a flammable liquid fire.  Foam Fire Extinguishers come in various sizes, the larger sizes have an increased fire rating.  Again like water fire extinguishers, Foam Fire Extinguishers should not be used on electrical fires.

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

A CO2 Fire Extinguisher is designed for use on electrical fires due to the non-conductive nature of the carbon dioxide extinguishing medium.  This fire extinguisher type is suitable for use on Category B flammable liquid fires.  CO2 Fire Extinguishers are most commonly available in 2 sizes, these being 2Kg and 5Kg.  CO2 Fire Extinguishers are commonly found in offices, where they are ideal for use on electrical equipment in the event of a fire.

ABC Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

An ABC Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher is suitable for Category A, Category B and Category C Fires aswell as Electrical Fires.  This means that this fire extinguisher type is suitable for flammable solid, liquid, gas and electrical fires, which makes them the most versatile extinguisher on the market.  However one drawback to the powder fire extinguisher is the amount of debri left after using one.  This fact means that they are generally used in industrial applications and not in office environments.  ABC Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers are often found in petrol station forecourts due to how versatile they are, and the enviroment in which they would be used.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers are more specialist than the other fire extinguisher types above.  They are often found in kitchen environments as they are designed specifically for use on Category F fires which include cooking oil fires.  These wet chemical units are available in several sizes.

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