Best Fire Extinguishers: What are they?
A fire extinguisher is a device used to put out fires caused by open flames or sparks. A fire extinguisher consists of two parts; a container with water and an activated cartridge which contains chemicals such as chlorine gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), or nitrogen. When the cartridges are fired into the air, these gases cause the liquid contents of the bottle to expand and force any remaining powder out of it. The pressure created causes the liquid to immediately freeze over, preventing further ignition.
Fire extinguishers come in different sizes and shapes. Some are designed to be placed inside a room while others are meant for larger areas like garages or even whole houses. There are several brands available today, but there’s no need to spend a fortune when buying one of them because most of them will do the job just fine.
The main thing to remember is that if you have a small fire, then use a cheap one. If you have a large fire, then go for the expensive ones.
What Size Fire Extinguisher Should I Buy?
There are many factors involved in choosing the right type of fire extinguisher for your needs. One factor to consider is how much space you’ll need to store it in. If you have a small house or apartment, then an ABC fire extinguisher is probably best for you because they are usually not very large. They are also fairly cheap so if one gets damaged or you move somewhere else you won’t cry over the cost of a new one.
On the other hand, if you own a large house or warehouse, then you’ll need to think about what might happen in the event of a fire. The more space you have, the more room a person has to run and the more likely it is that someone could be injured if they are in the way of said fire. For this reason, you will probably need a fire extinguisher that covers a large area and puts out flames quickly. A multi-purpose fire extinguisher that can be used on A, B, and C type fires is your best bet.
What do You Need to Know before Buying a Fire Extinguisher?
When buying a fire extinguisher, there are several important factors you should be aware of before you part with your hard-earned money. The biggest one of these is the size of the fire extinguisher itself. They typically range in size from 5lbs to 120lbs so it’s important to remember that they are not designed to handle an entire room of fire. They will only be able to cover a small area so you’ll need to make sure that you have enough of them if the fire is large.
Other factors include the type of fire that the extinguisher is effective against and the size of the flames it can handle. This is typically marked on the side in bright, easy to see colors so it should not be a problem. If you have very valuable items that may be damaged by certain chemicals, it is always best to opt for a fire extinguisher that does not use those chemicals so you can rest easy knowing your items will not be harmed.
What is the Best Way to Store and Maintain a Fire Extinguisher?
Storing and maintaining a fire extinguisher is fairly easy, but there are some tips you should follow in order to get the most out of them. Fire extinguishers should always be stored in a safe place that is not excessively hot, cold, or humid. A garage or shed would be ideal for this purpose.
You will also need to check them on a regular basis so that any potential problems can be found and fixed before they become serious. Typically, you should do this every month or two just to be safe. If you do not know how to do this yourself, then it’s best to have an expert handle the task.
What are the Advantages of Owning a Fire Extinguisher?
There are many advantages to owning fire extinguishers in your home or business. The most obvious one is that they can keep damage from fires to a minimum which means that you’ll be able to save more in repairs as well as keeping your items out of the ashes. This can be especially helpful in an office type setting or if you own a lot of expensive equipment.
Other advantages to owning fire extinguishers in your home is that it can help save lives. This is especially important if you have small children that may not know how to react to a fire. They can simply grab the fire extinguisher, point, and shoot should a fire start. Obviously, this is not a perfect plan, but it could help save someone’s life so it’s definitely worth it to have one around.
If you own a business, then having a fire extinguisher on location is even more important. Not only will it help stop a simple fire from spreading and causing thousands of dollars in repairs or more, but it can also keep your employees safe as well. Fires often cause a lot of confusion which leads to a lot of running around and towards doors. Having an extinguisher on hand will allow people to gather around it which leads to a safer work environment for everyone.
What are the Different Types of Fire Extinguishers and Which One is Right for Me?
There are several different types of fire extinguishers, but they all fall into two categories: water and foam. Each of these types comes in a variety of sizes and strengths so let’s explore each one a little more to figure out which one is right for you.
Water Fire Extinguishers: As the name suggests, these fire extinguishers use water as the primary element to fight fire. The reason why some classes are labeled for specific types of fires is due to the pressure at which the water is coming out. In other words, a water fire extinguisher can be used on Class A and sometimes Class B fires, but using it on anything else can severely damage your equipment or worse.
Foam Fire Extinguishers: These extinguishers subdue the fire by smothering it with foam rather than dousing it with water. These are typically used on Class A and Class B fires and sometimes even for electrical fires as well.
Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers: These extinguishers are filled with a special chemical that coats the fuel source and is designed to smother the fire. These can be used on Class A, Class B, and sometimes even Class C fires. Typically, these extinguishers are filled with a blue colored chemical for easier visibility.
Ether Fire Extinguishers: These are specialized fire extinguishers that use a chemical to put out electrical fires. These are very dangerous to use and can cause injury or even start a secondary fire, but are the only option if you happen to be faced with one. These are typically filled with a purple colored chemical for easier visibility.
Need to Know Information About Fire Extinguishers
Here are some quick facts about fire extinguishers that you should know before selecting or using one:
Fire extinguishers are typically labeled with a “Class” designation. The higher the number, the more capable it is at extinguishing the fire.
Dry chemical and foam fire extinguishers are typically only good for Class A and B fires. Water fire extinguishers can typically handle Class A, B, and C fires but should not be used on electrical fires.
Fire extinguishers have an “EXP” (expiration) date written on them. After this date, the fire extinguisher is no longer reliable so be sure to check for this. Typically you can find this on the bottom of the fire extinguisher but sometimes it is on the top.
If you need to use a fire extinguisher, be sure to aim at the base of the flames. This will prevent the fire from reigniting once you put it out.
Don’t forget to turn your fire extinguisher’s nozzle from “Guard” to “Off” once you are finished using it (unless, of course, there is a fire nearby). This will prevent anyone from getting hurt if they happen to come along after you’ve used it.
Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
As we have mentioned, there are several different types of fire extinguishers. Here is some information about all of the various ones you will find:
Water Fire Extinguisher: This type of fire extinguisher is most commonly found throughout homes. It can handle Class A and sometimes Class B fires. These extinguishers are filled with water pressurized with nitrogen. Typically, you can find these in your garage or kitchen.
Water and Foam Fire Extinguisher: This type of fire extinguisher is also typically found in kitchens. It can handle Class A, B, and C fires. These extinguishers have the same properties as the above extinguisher, but are filled with foam that expands when coming into contact with flames. These are typically slightly more expensive than regular water fire extinguishers.
Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher: These are more rarely found in homes and typically only found in industrial areas. Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers use an entirely different method to subdue flames and should not be used on Class A, B, or C fires.
Carbon Dioxide extinguishers typically cost more than water or chemical fire extinguishers.
Need to Know Fire Extinguisher Facts
There are a few things that you should know about fire extinguishers before you start using them. Here is some information that will be important to remember when dealing with these dangerous tools:
Water, Dry Chemical, and Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers all have an “EXP” (expiration date). For maximum protection, be sure to check this date before every use.
Most fire extinguishers have a “Sterno” fuel tab on top of them. If you are using one of these extinguishers, make sure to light this before using (if possible). This will help deter the flames.
Without the fuel tab lit, these extinguishers are typically not as effective in putting out flames.
Only use water, dry chemical, and carbon dioxide fire extinguishers on the appropriate types of fires. Using the wrong type can make the fire worse.
It is not recommended that you use a fire extinguisher after the flames are already out of control. This can cause the fire to reignite in some cases.
Fire extinguishers should always be kept in an upright position and on firm ground. If it starts to go over, it could break. Also, if you need to use it, it will be easier to grab and less likely to fall over.
Fire extinguishers should be kept away from areas that get a lot of direct sunlight. These areas can cause the fire extinguisher to overheat and malfunction.
Need to Know Procedures for Using a Fire Extinguisher
It is important to remember that a fire extinguisher is there to prevent fires from spreading. Your goal should be to use it before the flames get too out of control. If you notice a small trash fire, for example, you should try to smother it with something before grabbing the extinguisher.
You should also remember that you shouldn’t try to use it on something that is burning in just one location. For example, if you are cooking something on the stove and it catches on fire, you shouldn’t try to smother the flames with the extinguisher. Instead, you should move the pan off of the heat first.
There are three different types of fire extinguishers: water, dry chemical, and carbon dioxide. You should learn how to use all of these types to be safe. Here are a few things that you should remember when using each one:
Water : It is important that you don’t over-apply water. The water can soak into porous materials and continue to burn below the surface. It can also conduct electricity, which could be dangerous in some cases.
Dry Chemical : This type of fire extinguisher should only be used on Class B and C fires. It can be used on Class A fires, but it doesn’t work as well and can make the flames spread more quickly.
Carbon Dioxide : This extinguisher uses carbon dioxide to suffocate the flames. This is typically only used on electrical fires or for cooking fires. This will not work on a fire involving flames, as the flames will go out but the burning will continue.
The Best Location to Store a Fire Extinguisher in Your Home
The best place to store your fire extinguishers is close to the point of exit. This could be the door to your rooms, or even the front door to your entire home if you have a multi-level house or apartment.
If you don’t have kids, it is a good idea to keep one in your kitchen.
Regardless of where you store a fire extinguisher, you should make sure everyone in your home knows where they are and how to use them.
The Importance of Fire Extinguishers
Even if a fire extinguisher doesn’t prevent a fire from spreading, it can still save your life. It can also prevent a fire from reigniting after the flames are out. You should never enter a burning building unless you know you have something to extinguish the fire. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself in danger.
You may also be preventing someone else from getting hurt. If there is a person or pet still inside, they may not be able to get out safely if you aren’t around.
If you are in a building and you see that there is a fire extinguisher nearby, it is a good idea to use it rather than trying to find another one or run out of the building.
You may be able to put out a small fire on your own, but you should never try to tackle a large one. If you notice that the fire is reaching up towards the ceiling, or if it is starting to get larger in size, you need to get everyone out of the building and away from the fire.
How Fire Extinguishers Work
All fire extinguishers work under the basic principle of suffocation. When you use a fire extinguisher, you are covering the fire in a type of foam that cuts off the oxygen supply to the flames. This prevents them from getting any bigger or spreading to other flammable materials.
When you hear a hissing sound when an extinguisher is used, that means it is working properly. This sound can also be loud, which is why you should never get too close to the fire while it is in action.
To use a fire extinguisher, you should aim at the base of the fire and then spray. Fire extinguishers usually mark where to aim with an orange stripe. You may need to move it around if it doesn’t seem to be working.
You should stay around while the fire is being extinguished to make sure it is working. If the flames begin to spread again or get larger, you may need to find another fire extinguisher or try to evacuate.
When you are done using a fire extinguisher, you should take it back to where it was stored to prevent injuries and potential damage.
There are a wide range of fire extinguishers out there, but they all fall under five main types.
This is the most common type and it can be used on Class A and sometimes Class B fires. It is a white powdery substance that stops the fuel source of the fire from burning. It does this by smothering the flames.
It can be used on wood, paper, cloth, most plastics and many other types of materials. It can also be used on fires involving flammable liquids, as long as the flames aren’t too large.
This type of fire extinguisher is rarely effective on electrical fires. It won’t work on Class C fires at all.
You should avoid using this type of extinguisher on oil, gasoline or any other petroleum-based products.
This type works by removing oxygen from the immediate area, which puts out the fire. It is most commonly used on Kitchen fires and other Class B fires, but it doesn’t work very well on oil or grease fires.
It is rarely effective on anything other than a kitchen fire, because it can’t put out fires that are electrical or chemical in nature.
This type of fire extinguisher should be handled with care. It can cause asphyxiation if there isn’t enough oxygen in the room already. It can also be dangerous if the oxygen level gets too low.
This is the most versatile type of fire extinguisher and it works on all Class A fires, as well as some B and C fires. It can be used on wood, paper, cloth, most types of plastic and some types of metals.
It is usually not recommended for use on electrical devices or motors unless those are thoroughly disconnected from their power source.
It is only effective on class A fires.
This type of extinguisher can be used safely on other types of fires, but it should never be used on anything involving an electrical fire.
This fire extinguisher is similar to the Dry Chemical extinguisher, except the chemicals are in a liquid form. It is most effective on Class B Fires and can sometimes be used on Class A fires. It works by removing the fuel source of the fire.
It can be used on flammable liquids, such as oil, gas and grease. It can also be used on flammable metals, such as magnesium. It should never be used on anything other than these types of fires.
Fire Extinguisher Myths
There are several myths about the contents and use of fire extinguishers. One of the most common misconceptions is that you can use one to put out a campfire. This is absolutely false. In fact, a fire extinguisher can make a campfire explode, as it fills the area with CO2 and puts out oxygen.
Another common misconception is that you can use one on someone who is on fire. This can actually make the situation worse. It’s best to never use one on a person unless they are covered in flammable liquids. Even then, it’s not always safe.
If you need to put out an electrical fire, do not use a fire extinguisher. This can cause the flames to burst out and spread around the immediate area. It could also cause the fire to get bigger if it is fueled by something like oil or gas.
It is also important to note that you should never use a fire extinguisher on a car fire. It will actually cause the gas tank to explode.
Also, contrary to popular belief, you do not need to wait for the flames to die down before using the fire extinguisher. If you see a fire, you should squirt it. This is especially important with flammable liquids, such as oil and gasoline, because they can quickly spread and engulf an entire vehicle in flames.
If you notice smoke or the scent of smoke near your vehicle, be careful. There could be a fire just waiting to happen.
Using a Fire Extinguisher
There are several types of fire extinguishers. They’re usually marked based on what they can be used on, so it’s not too hard to figure out which one to use in what situation.
The most common type is marked “A-B”, which indicates that it is effective on Class A and Class B fires. The ABC varieties are also common, which are effective on Class A, Class B and Class C fires.
Class C fires involve electrical equipment and wiring, so it would be very dangerous to use a fire extinguisher on one of these fires.
When using a fire extinguisher on a vehicle, aim at the base of the flames or the center of the fire. You can also use it to put out flames on the sides of the vehicle, but never get too close to the fire. Also, in some cases it can actually make the fire spread, so you want to be especially careful when using one.
If there is an explosive hazard near the fire such as gas cans or fuel, keep this in mind and take extra caution not to hit this with the fire extinguisher.
Shooting at the flames from a distance is perfectly safe, but when the flames get close you want to move away quickly.
If you are in danger or cannot put out the fire, it’s best to just get away from it and call the fire department. Stay away from the vehicle until they arrive.
After putting out the flames, it is important to make sure the fire does not start again. This is especially important on a vehicle, which can be difficult to put out the flames on and once it starts burning it can be very dangerous. First, you want to use the fire extinguisher to keep the fire from spreading. Next, you want to keep an eye on the area around the vehicle and make sure that sparks from the vehicle or other sources don’t reignite the fire.
Once you have done all that you can, it is time to wait for help.
When Help Arrives…
Once the fire has been put out, you should not go near the vehicle unless there is an explosive hazard or something similar nearby.
Inspect the scene from a safe distance to make sure that it is completely out. If it is, then you can relax and wait for help to arrive. Hopefully, the owner of the car was not inside when the fire started and will be able to tell everyone what happened.
If anyone is hurt, make sure that they are taken care of immediately. Also, if there are any witnesses, talk to them and see if they know what started the fire.
The most important thing you can do is report everything to the fire department. This information could help them in the future and it can also help them put out similar fires more effectively.
We all hope that you will never have to deal with a vehicle fire, but if you ever need to then this information should help. Just make sure that you are safe first and that everyone is safe before attempting to put the fire out.
If you have experienced a vehicle fire yourself, you can add your advice in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!
Sources & references used in this article:
Testing of different portable fire extinguishers against fires in twin tyres by JP Stensaas, HC Jacobsen – NBL10 A01159, SINTEF NBL-Norwegian Fire …, 2001 – risefr.no
Indicating support for fire extinguishers by H Malte – US Patent 2,670,194, 1954 – Google Patents
Crew compartment live fire test results with hybrid fire extinguishers by R Mitchell – Proceedings of, 1999 – nist.gov
Bracket for holding fire extinguishers by GR Brock – US Patent 3,194,529, 1965 – Google Patents
Bracket assembly for mounting fire extinguishers thereon by DJ Lingenfelser – US Patent 4,213,592, 1980 – Google Patents