According to statistics, close to 43% of all fatalities occurring in homes happen during the winter season and approximately 50% of all home fires start in the kitchen. These numbers are a testimony of the risk of fire faced by most homes not only in Australia, but all over the world. In order to reduce the exposure, you should carry out a home fire safety audit oftentimes and always be prepared with the right firefighting equipment. Fire extinguishers are the most fundamental firefighting equipment and every home is expected to have them installed and regularly inspected.
This article discusses the different varieties of fire extinguishers and the classes of fires they can contain.
The Classes of Fire
There are 6 main classes of fires, from Class A to Class F. Class A consist of fires from solids such as plastic, wood and paper. Class B comprises fires from flammable liquids including oil, petrol and paraffin. Class C is for flammable gas fires, Class D is for metal fires, Class E consists of fires from electrical apparatus, while Class F is for fires from cooking fats and oils.
Water and Foam Extinguishers
These types of fire extinguishers operate by eliminating the heat element of the fire triangle. They also separate oxygen from the other elements hence stopping the fires. They are appropriate for Class A fires. These extinguishers shouldn't be used on Class B and Class C fires because the discharge stream may easily spread the flammable liquid or create a shock hazard respectively.
Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers
These work by removing the oxygen element from the fire triangle as well as the heat through a cold discharge. They are appropriate on Class B and Class C fires.
Dry Chemical Extinguishers
Dry chemical extinguishers interrupt the chemical reaction in the fire triangle. The multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher is effective in putting off Class A, B and C fires. Only Class A fires, the extinguisher separates the fuel element and the oxygen component. When using the ordinary dry chemical extinguisher, restrict its application to only Class B and Class C fires.
Wet Chemical Extinguishers
The wet chemical in these extinguishers serves two main purposes. First, it takes away the heat from the fire triangle and secondly, separates the fuel and oxygen elements to prevent re-ignition. Since they are developed for ultramodern and high efficiency deep fryers in cooking operations, they can effectively put off Class F and Class A fires.
Other extinguishers you may consider are Clean Agent, Dry Powder, and Water Mist. For more information, check here.