What Types of Fire Extinguishers Provide the Best Protection

December 14, 2017

Most fires start small so detecting them quickly and taking appropriate measures is crucial in containing a fire from getting out of control. Having the proper training and correct equipment near by, will drastically increase your chances of success. While portable fire extinguishers should not be your only source of defeating a fire, in most cases, they will allow just enough time for the proper services to arrive.

Never Forget Fire Extinguisher Training

There are more than a few varieties of fire extinguishers out there and they all have different jobs to do. It's imperative that employees get the right training on how to operate them, recognize the difference between each unit and most importantly which fire to use it on. A fire extinguisher may look easy to operate but when faced with a high-pressure situation, it may save lives with the right training.

When in Doubt, Remember P-A-S-S

If you ever need to use a fire extinguisher, remember the P-A-S-S acronym:

P = Pull the pin at the top
A = Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
S = Squeeze the handle
S = Sweep the fire from side to side

Protecting Your Warehouse With the Right Fire Extinguishers

There are several classifications of portable fire extinguishers suitable for different operations. Selecting the right type of extinguisher to install in your warehouse will depend on a number of factors, including the kind of products you're storing.

Depending on your needs, you will need to select the right class of extinguisher:

Class A Fire Extinguishers (Combustibles)

  • Used for ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper, plastics, and textiles
  • Provides water to quickly absorb heat, coupled with dry chemicals
  • Identified by a green triangle with the letter A inside

Class B Fire Extinguishers (Liquids)

  • Used for flammable liquids and/or gaseous fires, fueled by gas or oil.
  • Deprives the fire of oxygen and inhibit the release of combustible vapors
  • Identified by a red square with the letter B inside

Class C Fire Extinguishers (Electrical Equipment)

  • Used for fires involving electrical equipment
  • Using a non-conductive extinguishing agent. After electrical equipment has been de-energized, Class A or B extinguishers may be used
  • Identified by a blue circle with the letter C inside

Class D Fire Extinguishers (Combustible Liquids)

  • Used for combustible metals, such as sodium, titanium, or magnesium
  • Identified by a yellow star with the letter D inside

You'll also need to establish what kind of extinguisher will provide the best protection:

Water and Foam

  • Used only in Class A fires.
  • Using in Class B or C could spread flammable liquid or create a shock hazard

Carbon Dioxide

  • Used in Class B and C fires.
  • Ineffective on Class A Fires

Dry Chemical

  • Interrupts the chemical reaction of fires and can be used on Class A, B, and C fires
  • Ordinary dry chemical is for Class B & C fires only

Wet Chemical

  • Used in kitchens and commercial operations for Class K fires
  • Prevents re-ignition by separating oxygen and fuel sources

Dry Powder

  • Used for Class D or Combustible metal fires only
  • Ineffective on all other classes of fires

Making sure your facility is equipped with the right class of fire extinguisher is critical to maximizing protection and delivering adequate suppression performance. Ensuring you have the right type of fire extinguisher available and ready for use goes a long way in minimizing any potential damage.

Latest posts

The Importance of Training Your Staff on Fire Suppression Systems
Find in this post some examples that illustrate why the specialized training is so important.
The Halon Danger: Why You Need To Audit Your Fire Equipment Today
Jurisdictions across North America and globally produced protocols have been phasing out Halons, beginning in 1993 and accelerating over the following decades. Although they are effective in stopping the chemical ...
Understanding the Different Components of an Effective Fire Alarm system
Fire alarm systems are an essential safety system required for any commercial, institutional or industrial space. Whether your system is being installed in an office, a high-rise, a warehouse, a ...