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Fire Extinguisher Guide

Irish & European Fire Extinguisher Classification and types

  1. Water extinguishers - class A: used on organic combustibles such paper, plastic, cloth and wood.
  2. Foam extinguishers - class A & B: used on flammable liquids involving oil, petrol and paint thinners.  
  3. Powder extinguishers - Class C + A/B: used on electrical hazards and blazes involving liquids and flammable gases.
  4. Carbon dioxide extinguishers  - class B: used on electrical fires & flammable liquids
  5. Wet chemical extinguishers - class A & F:  used on cooking oils or fats, usually in kitchens.

Water Fire Extinguishers

Water fire extinguishers are the cheapest and most common fire extinguishers available. They are used on solids such as paper, wood, plastics, etc (Class A) but are not suitable for use on liquids i.e. petrol, oil, paraffin, etc.

They are easy to clean up after and don’t usually cause any long term damage to curtains, furnishings, etc. (also known as class B fires. However, they are highly unsuitable in an electric fire due to risk of electrocution.

Water extinguishers although they are not as effective as foam they continue to be used in some offices, retail, shops, homes and areas of low risk. 

Foam Fire Extinguishers

They are usually more expensive than water but are also more adapted to different functions. They can be used on class A and B fire. Foam fire extinguishers are not recommend for use on electrical fires but are safer in the necessity of an emergency situation.

Foam extinguishers are often used in offices, retail, shops, pubs, restaurants, apartments, farms, petrol stations and companies of any kind.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

Dry powder extinguishers are one of the most versatile fire safety products, and are safe for use on class A, B and C (flammable gases). They should be used only in an emergency situation and when the gas supply has been cut off at source. Otherwise they will not completely extinguish the flame and may lead to gas poisoning. There are also some special dry powder fire extinguishers which are available for use on magnesium, aluminium and titanium (class D). However, these would be limited to specialist industries.

Dry powder extinguishers are also known to be messy to clean up and can cause damage on soft furnishings, curtains and other indoor furnishings. In addition, they can be irritant to people if used in a busy or crowded space i.e. a bar, restaurant or hotel.

Dry powder extinguishers are very versitile and can be used in almost all envirnments. They are mainly found in cars, boats, offices, commercial buildings, petrol stations, factories, warehouses and large premises of any kind. 

Co2 Fire Extinguishers

Carbon Dioxide fires are best used for electrical fires as they cut off the fire fuel supply (air) without the use of water or other electricity conducting material. They can also be used on flammable liquids. However, they offer no post fire protection and can lead to either electrocution or post fire heat burn. In the case of electrical fires it is very important to cut off electricity at the source and this includes the mains.

Co2 extinguishers are often used in offices, shops, server rooms and data centres, retail outlets and most commercial buildings of any kind. They are even found in the home. 

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

These are specialised fire extinguishers for use on cooking oils and burning fats (class F). They are often found available in kitchens and should be considered for anywhere in the proximity of kitchens or cooking activity, including private homes.

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are often used in commercial kitchens such as bars, restaurants, hotels, and even homes.

Please call us on 01 5313545 to book your free risk assessment or for more information