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Types of fire extinguisher

What types of fire extinguishers are there and which fire extinguisher can be used for which type of fire? We give you an overview.

14 July 2021 Fire Safety

Types of fire extinguishers

First of all: Not every fire extinguisher is suitable for every fire. We show you the different types of fire extinguishers.

Fire extinguisher types based on the extinguishing agent

Foam extinguisher

Foam extinguishers achieve a good extinguishing performance and cause only minor soiling. After use, the extinguishing foam can be easily wiped off.

Foam extinguishers are only suitable for fire classes A and B. Fire class A includes solid substances e.g. wood, paper and textiles. Fire class B includes liquid substances such as varnish, tar and petrol.

Foam extinguishers work at outdoor temperatures from 0 °C to +60 °C. By the way, foam extinguishers are also available as biodegradable extinguishing agents, which we particularly recommend!

Powder extinguisher

Powder extinguishers have a very high extinguishing capacity and are the all-rounders among fire extinguishers, as they can be used for many fire classes. However, they cause a high level of contamination. Powder gets into the smallest crevices, and surrounding electronic devices may no longer function after the powder extinguisher has been used. If the powder comes into contact with moisture, this can lead to severe corrosion damage.

Powder extinguishers are suitable for fire classes ABC, BC and D. Fire class A includes solid substances such as wood, paper and textiles. Fire class B includes liquid substances such as varnish, tar and petrol. Fire class C includes gases such as natural gas, methane, propane and hydrogen. Fire class D includes metals. Powder extinguishers work at ambient temperatures from -30 °C to +60 °C, so they are also great for outdoor use or garages.

Water extinguisher

The most sustainable extinguishing agent among fire extinguishers is the water extinguisher. It has a good extinguishing capacity and causes little pollution.

The water extinguisher is only to be used for fire class A (solid substances). It can only be used above freezing point (ambient temperature from 0 °C to +60).

Carbon dioxide extinguisher / CO2 fire extinguisher

The CO2 extinguisher has a good extinguishing capacity and protects surrounding electrical equipment. This means that there is no extinguishing damage after use.

But be careful! There is a danger of suffocation in small rooms, so go out immediately or extinguish from the door. CO2 is very dangerous for humans, a few breaths can already lead to suffocation.

It is suitable for fire class B. It is also frost-proof (-30 °C to +60 °C), so it is also suitable for garages or outdoor use.

Grease fire extinguisher

When oil or fat starts to burn in the kitchen, bakery or canteen, the fat fire extinguisher has the best extinguishing performance and causes only a small amount of contamination that can be quickly removed. 

The grease fire extinguisher is designed for fire class F (cooking oils, cooking fats) as well as fire classes A and B. It is also suitable for outdoor use. It is also suitable for outdoor use as it is frost-proof (-30 °C to +60 °C). 

Download overview fire extinguisher types and fire classes

Fire extinguisher types based on the technical construction

In general, fire extinguishers can be divided into two types, regardless of the extinguishing agent: Permanent pressure extinguishers and rechargeable extinguishers.

Permanent pressure extinguisher

The continuous pressure extinguisher consists of a container and is constantly under pressure. It is available as a foam, powder, water and CO2 fire extinguisher. It is possible that the pressure can escape over time. This means that the fire extinguisher would no longer be functional in an emergency. Accordingly, the pressure should be checked regularly by means of an attached pressure gauge, which even laymen can do. The continuous pressure extinguisher is usually cheaper to buy, but more expensive to maintain, as maintenance is more complex due to the continuous pressure.

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Rechargeable extinguisher

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The rechargeable extinguisher consists of an extinguishing agent container in which a propellant bottle is installed. The propellant (gas) is only released when activated, so it is safer and cannot escape. Charge extinguishers are available with the extinguishing agents foam, powder and water. Rechargeable extinguishers are more expensive to buy but cheaper to maintain.

Download overview fire extinguisher types and fire classes

Do you have questions about the types of fire extinguishers?

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