Fire Extinguisher Types
Updated: Nov 28
Choosing the right fire extinguisher involves identifying the fire risk and ensuring compliance with safety regulations. Fire extinguishers come in various types and are designed for specific classes of fires. Each has a different colour so the correct extinguisher can be quickly identified in emergency situations.
Fire extinguisher colours
Fire extinguishers are colour coded to help you easily recognise the type of fire they are designed to tackle. The colours mean you can quickly identify the appropriate extinguisher for a specific type of fire, ensuring proper and safe use in emergencies.
Red: Most common type of fire extinguisher, typically used for Class A, Class B or Class C fires.
Blue: Less common, indicating a powder based extinguisher, suitable for Class C fires involving flammable gases.
Cream: Often signifies a foam based extinguisher suitable for Class A and Class B fires.
Black: Indicates a CO2 based extinguisher ideal for Class C electrical fires and Class B fires involving flammable liquids.
Yellow: Represents a wet chemical extinguisher designed for Class F fires involving cooking oils and fats.
Water Fire Extinguishers
Water fire extinguishers are suitable for Class A fires involving ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, and textiles. They cool the fire and remove heat to extinguish it. They should not be used on flammable liquids or electrical fires due to the risk of electric shock or spreading the fire.
Foam Fire Extinguishers
Foam fire extinguishers combat Class A and Class B fires, forming a film over the fire to prevent reignition. They cool the fire and smother it by cutting off its oxygen supply. Foam fire extinguishers are unsuitable for electrical fires and should be used cautiously around sensitive equipment.
Dry Powder Fire extinguishers Dry powder fire extinguishers are versatile, effective on Class A, B, and C fires, but not recommended for enclosed spaces due to limited visibility. They smother fires by interrupting the chemical reaction. They can create a messy residue so should be applied carefully.
Fire extinguishers for electrical fires
CO2 or dry powder extinguishers are recommended for electrical fires. CO2 extinguishers suffocate the fire by displacing oxygen without leaving residue. It is ideal for electrical equipment. Dry powder is also effective but should be used cautiously as it poses risks to sensitive equipment.
Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers
Wet chemical fire extinguishers are designed for Class F fires involving cooking oils or fats. They create a cooling effect and form a layer that prevents re-ignition. However, their use is specific to kitchen environments and shouldn't be used for other fire classes due to limited effectiveness.
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