What is a Fire Extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher is an extremely active fire protection device. It is used to extinguish or control small fires. It’s often used in emergency situations, but it’s not intended for use on an out-of-control fire. For example, the fire which has reached the ceiling endangers the use. Normally, a fire extinguisher consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel. It contains an agent that can be discharged to extinguish a fire.

Basically, there are two main types of fire extinguishers. One is called stored-pressure & the other one is called cartridge-operated.

Types of Fire Extinguisher

Carbon Dioxide

These fire extinguishers extinguish the fire by taking away the oxygen(O2) element of the fire triangle  & also removing the heat with a very cold discharge. This extinguisher can be used on class B & C type fires.

Water & Foam

These fire extinguishers extinguish the fire by taking away the heating element of the fire triangle. The foam agents separate the oxygen (O2) element from the other elements. These extinguishers are good for class A type fires only.

Dry Chemical

These types of fire extinguishers extinguish the fire primarily by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire triangle. It is a widely used type of fire extinguisher. It is the multipurpose dry chemical that is effective on class A, B, & C fires. This agent also works fine by making a barrier between the oxygen element & the fuel element on Class A fires.

Wet Chemical

This newly developed agent extinguishes the fire by removing the heat of the fire triangle & also prevents re-ignition by creating a barrier between the oxygen & fuel elements. These class K extinguishers were developed for modern & high efficiency deep fat fryers in commercial cooking operations. These are good for class A fires in commercial kitchens.

Clean Agent

Clean Agent is also called Halogenated extinguishers, which include the Halon agents as well as the newer & less ozone depleting halocarbon agents. These can extinguish the fire by interrupting the chemical reaction or removing heat from the fire triangle. Clean agent extinguishers are very effective on class A, B & C type fires.

Dry Powder

These extinguishers are similar to a dry chemical. However, dry powder extinguishers are good for class D or combustible metal fires, only. They are totally ineffective on all other classes of fires.

Water Mist

Water Mist extinguishers are the most recent development which extinguishes the fire by taking away the heating element of the fire triangle. Basically, they are an alternative to the clean agent extinguishers where contamination is a concern. These extinguishers are primarily for Class A fires. They are safe for use on class C fires too.

Cartridge Operated Dry Chemical

These fire extinguishers extinguish the fire primarily by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire triangle. Like the stored pressure dry chemical extinguishers, this multipurpose dry chemical is effective on class A, B, & equally on C type fires. This specific agent also works by creating a barrier between the oxygen element & the fuel element on Class A fires.

Recommended Readings

Best Fire Extinguishers For Home Use