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Portable Fire Extinguishers: Types, Use and Colors

>> Feb 20, 2016

Today fire extinguishers are one of the most popular ways of fire fighting. They are essential for commercial buildings, homes, cars and in fact any place where the risk of fire takes place. In this article you will learn about the main types of fire extinguishers and their uses.

Water Extinguisher

These extinguishers are colored with red color and are usually used for fires involving burning of any organic solid materials including paper, wood, plastics, cloth, coal etc. Water is the main active “ingredient” which has a great effect on cooling the burning surfaces and so reducing the pyrolysis rate of the fuel.

Water Spray Extinguisher (Water with additive)

These extinguishers are also colored in red and are used for setting out the same fire types. However, these fire extinguishers can offer significantly improved capability of fire fighting if compared to traditional jet type water fire extinguishers. They come in 3 and 6 liters tanks. The construction of this portable fire extinguisher type has a spray nozzle which involves higher pressure that in its turn creates a fine spray. These fire extinguishers are more efficient by more rapid extraction of heat.

Water Mist Extinguisher (‘Dry’ Water Mist)

Water mist fire extinguishers are colored in red on a white background. They are used for A, B, C rated risks and also for fats and deep fat fryers (which is class F). Some models are also safe on electrical fires but only at a distance of 1m. The principle of works lies on the fact that water is turned into microscopic particles inside of the supersonic nozzle. So in fact it is water mist that is drawn to the fire. This mist cools and suffocates the fire.

Powder Extinguisher (Multi-Purpose)

These fire extinguishers are blue and are mostly used on fires involving burning organic solids and liquids such as grease, oil, fats, petrol, paint, etc. but definitely not on chip or fat pan fires. This type is also safe for gas and electrical equipment fires. The power acts as thermal ballast cooling the flames and so making the chemical reaction of burning impossible.

Dry Powder Extinguisher (Special Powders)

Dry powder extinguishers are also blue and are mostly used on fires caused by combustible metals such as magnesium, lithium, aluminum or sodium. These extinguishers in fact simply create a crust which perfectly insulates the metal in order to prevent access to all the other combustible material nearby and so it smothers the fire and prevent oxygen reacting with the metal.

On the market you undoubtedly can find more fire extinguisher types, but the options described above are the most common and universal.

Gerard Bradley operates as a freelance writer for a big array of digital content hubs (featuring companies like Herbertwilliams.com firm selling carbon dioxide extinguisher type and any other fire extinguishers for both residential and commercial uses), who sheds light on a variety of fire safety subjects and other matters alike. A committed traveler of online community and a true connoisseur of anything of significance to the fire safety.

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