How to Choose a Safe Fire Extinguisher

KEY TAKEAWAY: Fire extinguishers come in multiple models and are designed to fight specific fires types. Fire extinguishers must match the fires risks at your workplace.

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If a fire breaks out at your workplace, you need to be confident the fire extinguisher in your hand is safe to use. Using the wrong type of fire extinguisher could not only be ineffective, it could make the situation worse and put you and your team at risk.

Use a detailed risk assessment to highlight potential fire risks and establish control measures to minimize hazards to an acceptable level. Your risk assessment will show which types of fires are a threat and allow you to select the correct type of extinguisher. Bear in mind, depending on the nature and scale of your workplace, it’s likely you’ll need multiple fire extinguishers of different types.

 

Get to Know: Fire Extinguisher Types

Fire extinguishers are designed to fight specific fire types and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. They are colour coded for easy recognition. Remember, it’s important to ensure your team receives sufficient training so they can recognise fire extinguishers types and understand how to use them. 

 

Water Fire Extinguishers

 

One of the most common types of fire extinguishers. Water Fire Extinguishers are designed to fight fires involving organic solid materials. The water extinguishes the fire and helps to stop reignition with their cooling effect. 

Colour code: Red

Use for:

  • Solid combustible materials (such as wood, coal, textiles, paper and cardboard)

Do not use on:

  • Electrical fires
  • Cooking oil fires
  • Flammable gas or liquid (such as petrol, paint and natural gas)

 

Powder Fire Extinguishers

In addition to solid materials, Power Fire Extinguishers (also known as ABC Extinguishers) can extinguish flammable gases and liquids. The powder smothers the fire by creating a barrier which cuts off oxygen. Powder Extinguishers do not have a cooling effect, so care must be taken to ensure reignition does not occur. While they are versatile, powder extinguishers should not be used indoors as the powder may be inhaled.

Colour code: Blue

Use for:

  • Solid combustible materials (wood, fabric, paper, etc.)
  • Flammable liquids (such as petrol and diesel)
  • Flammable gases (such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas)
  • Fires involving electrical equipment up to 1000v

Do not use for:

  • Kitchen fires involving cooking oil
  • Fires in confined spaces
  • On electrical equipment over 1000v

 

Foam Fire Extinguisher

 

Also known as AFFF extinguishers, Foam Fire Extinguishers are a common choice for indoor environments such as offices as they do not emit particles which are easily inhaled or leave a residue. They can fight fires from solid materials as well as liquid fires. The foam extinguishes the fire and, like water based extinguishers, has a cooling effect to prevent reignition.

Colour code: Cream

Use for:

  • Solid combustible materials (wood, fabric, paper, etc.)
  • Flammable liquids (paint, petrol, diesel, etc.)

Do not for:

  • Electrical fires
  • Cooking oil fires

 

CO2 Fire Extinguisher

 

Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers are commonly used in workplaces with electrical fire risks, such as computer server rooms and construction sites. The CO2 suffocates the fire and leaves no residue. However, care must be taken in confined spaces as there is a risk of asphyxiation from CO2 inhalation. When safe to enter, ventilate the area immediately after use. Be wary of reignition: once the CO2 has dispersed, fresh oxygen may reignite the fire.

Colour code: Black

Use for:

  • Flammable liquids (paint, petrol, diesel, etc.)
  • Electrical fires

Do not for:

  • Solid combustible materials (wood, fabric, paper, etc.)
  • Cooking oil fires

 

The Enfield Safety Fire Safety Range

At Enfield Safety, we supply a wide range of fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers suitable for multiple scenarios. We offer different sizes and capacities ranging from 1 to 9 kg.

All our fire extinguishers are CE marked, conform to BS EN3 where applicable and are tested to the highest safety standards. Every extinguisher comes with a wall bracket as standard for safe storage. Fire extinguishers can also form part of a Safety Station unit or can be fitted with a Fire Extinguisher Stand or Trolley making them easier to move.

Purchase online from our secure and user-friendly website or contact one of our safety champions on 0330 003 5710. If your workplace requires specialised equipment, please contact a member of our team to discuss.

Enfield Safety – no one works harder to bring you health, safety and welfare products at the right price, on time, every time.

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