Water Extinguisher

Best For
Fires involving organic solid materials such as wood, cloth, paper, plastics, coal etc.
Danger
Do not use on burning fat or oil or on electrical appliances.
How to Use
Point the jet at the base of the flames and keep it moving across the area of the fire. Ensure that all areas of the fire are out.
How it Works
Water has a great cooling effect on the fuel’s surface and thereby reduces the pyrolysis rate of the fuel.


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Water Spray Extinguisher (with additive)

Best For
Fires involving organic solid materials such as wood, cloth, paper, plastics, coal etc. These offer significantly improved firefighting capability compared to traditional jet type water fire extinguishers. Available in 3 and 6 litres.
Danger
Do not use on burning fat or oil or on electrical appliances.
How to Use
Point the jet at the base of the flames and keep it moving across the area of the fire. Ensure that all areas of the fire are out.
How it Works
Water has a great cooling effect on the fuel’s surface and thereby reduces the pyrolysis rate of the fuel. Instead of a jet nozzle a spray nozzle is used, with a higher pressure, which creates a fine spray. This allows for a given quantity of water to have a considerable increase in the surface area presented to the fire. This makes extinguishing more efficient by more rapid extraction of heat, formation of steam etc. They can also contain surfactants which help the water penetrate deep into the burning material which increases the effectiveness of the extinguisher.


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Powder Extinguisher (Multi-Purpose)

Best For
Can be used on fires involving organic solids, liquids such as grease, fats, oil, paint, petrol, etc but not on chip or fat pan fires. Can also be used on gas fires.
Danger
Safe on live electrical equipment, although does not penetrate the spaces in equipment easily and the fire may re-ignite. This type of extinguisher does not cool the fire very well and care should be taken that the fire does not flare up again.
Smouldering material in deep seated fires such as upholstery or bedding can cause the fire to start up again. Do not use on domestic chip or fat pan fires. There is danger of inhalation if powder extinguishers are used within buildings. Due to this, and the potential for powder to impair vision, powder extinguishers are no longer recommended for use within enclosed spaces.
How to Use
Point the jet or discharge horn at the base of the flames and, with a rapid sweeping motion, drive the fire towards the far edge until all the flames are out. If the extinguisher has a hand control, wait until the air clears and if you can still see the flames, attack the fire again.
How it Works
Similarly, to almost all extinguishing agents the powder acts as a thermal ballast making the flames too cool for the chemical reactions to continue. Some powders also provide a minor chemical inhibition, although this effect is relatively weak. These powders thus provide rapid knockdown of flame fronts but may not keep the fire suppressed.


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Foam Extinguisher (AFFF)

Best For
Fires involving solids and burning liquids, such as paint and petrol but not suitable for chip or fat pan fires. Safe on fires caused by electricity if tested to 35kV (dielectric test) and a 1m safety distance is adhered to.
Danger
Do not use on chip or fat pan fires.
How to Use
For fires involving solids, point the jet at the base of the flames and keep it moving across the area of the fire. Ensure that all areas of the fire are out. For fires involving liquids, do not aim the jet straight into the liquid. Where the liquid on fire is in a container, point the jet at the inside edge of the container or on a nearby surface above the burning liquid. Allow the foam to build up and flow across the liquid.
How it Works
They are mainly water based, with a foaming agent so that the foam can float on top of the burning liquid and break the interaction between the flames and the fuel surface.


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Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher

Best For
Live electrical equipment, although it allows re-ignition of hot plastics. Now mainly used on large computer servers, although care has to be taken not to asphyxiate people when using the extinguisher in small server rooms.
Danger
Do not use on chip or fat pan fires, as it can carry burning fat out of the container. This type of extinguisher does not cool the fire very well and you need to ensure that the fire does not start up again. Fumes from CO2 extinguishers can asphyxiate if used in confined spaces: ventilate the area as soon as the fire has been controlled. Only use CO2 extinguishers with frost-free horns, as the hand holding the horn can otherwise be frozen to the horn, as the gas gets very cold during the discharge.
How to Use
The discharge horn should be directed at the base of the flames and the jet kept moving across the area of the fire.
How it Works
Carbon dioxide extinguishers work by suffocating the fire. Carbon dioxide displaces oxygen in the air. However, once discharged, the CO2 will dissipate quickly and allow access for oxygen again, which can re-ignite the fire.


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Fire Blanket

Fire blankets are made of fire-resistant materials. They are useful for smothering small pan fires or for wrapping round a person whose clothing is on fire. Fire blankets conforming to British Standard BS EN 1869 : 1997 are suitable for use in the home. BS 7944 : 1999 is the specification for specialist heavy duty industrial use. Fire blankets should generally be disposed of after use.
Best For
Small pan fires where oil or fat has caught fire and clothing fires.
Danger
If the blanket does not completely cover the fire, it will not be able to extinguish the fire.
While kitemarked fire blankets have been successfully tested on deep fat fryers, modern frying fats are difficult to extinguish with a fire blanket. We therefore recommend wet chemicals for deep fat fryers.
How to Use
Place carefully over the fire. Keep your hands shielded from the fire. Do not waft the fire towards you.
How it Works
Smothers the fire and prevents oxygen getting to the fire.


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