WAZIPOINT Engineering Science & Technology: You Should Know all About Fire Extinguisher Using Guide

Sunday, March 26, 2023

You Should Know all About Fire Extinguisher Using Guide

Firefighting and Portable Fire Extinguisher Using Guide

Millions of fire incidents happen each year at the workplace around the world, resulting in huge casualties and deaths. Just being familiar with and following simple firefighting and fire extinguisher using basic guidelines, it’s possible to save valuable life and properties. Including all working personnel in the workplace, everybody should know the basic rules to use a fire extinguisher and evacuation procedure if fired anywhere.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Types of fire extinguishers are not the same for every country. Someone follow their own standard, but NFPA standards are very well-known and followed by many countries.

New Colour Code of Fire Extinguisher

The types of fire extinguishers are defined as the types of fire or the class of fire, such as Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class K

Type A: Class A fires that involved normal combustible materials like wood, paper, trash, cloth, different types of plastic or rubber, etc. The fire extinguisher that is used to extinguish this class of fire is known as a Type A fire extinguisher. The extinguisher agent for type A is water, chemical foam, dry chemical, etc.

Type B: Class B fires that involved flammable and combustible liquids like diesel, gasoline, grease, tar, thinner, oil-based paints, lacquers, alcohol, flammable gas, etc. The fire extinguisher that is used to extinguish this class of fire is known as a Type B fire extinguisher. The extinguisher agent for type B is carbon dioxide, halon, dry chemical, aqueous film-forming foam, etc.

Type C: Class C fires that involved an electrical fire or energized electrical equipment. The fire extinguisher that is used to extinguish this class of fire is known as a Type C fire extinguisher. The extinguisher agent for type C is carbon dioxide, halon, dry chemical, etc.

Type D: Class D fires that involved combustible metals like sodium, magnesium, titanium, etc. The fire extinguisher that is used to extinguish this class of fire is known as a Type D fire extinguisher. The extinguisher agent for type D is suitable to dry powder.

Type K: Class K fires that involved animals’ fats or oils, vegetable oils, cooking or cafeteria appliances, etc. The fire extinguisher that is used to extinguish this class of fire is known as a Type K fire extinguisher.

Somewhere fire class and fire extinguishers are classified as follows:
Class A: Ordinary Combustibles;
Class B: Flammable and combustible liquids;
Class C: Flammable gases;
Class D: Combustible metals;
Class E: Electrically energized equipment;
Class F: Cooking oils and fats.

Somewhere fire class and fire extinguishers are classified as follows:

Class A – Ordinary combustibles (paper, wood, rags, etc.);
Class B –Flammable Liquids;
Class C – Electrical Equipment;
Class D –Combustible Metals;
Combination Types – ABC and BC.
As per British Standards, fire extinguishers are as below
BS EN: 2 1992 Classification of fires (ISBN 0 580 21356 0):
Class A fires involving solid materials, usually of an organic nature, in which combustion normally takes place with the formation of glowing embers;
Class B fires involving liquids or liquefiable solids;
Class C fires involving gases;
Class D fires involving metals.

Color Classification of Fire Extinguishers

To identify and find out the right type of extinguisher during a fire incident, extinguisher cylinder color is pre-defined as followed by some international standards. The new version of the color classification of fire extinguishers is shown in the figure. In the old version of color classification, the whole body of the cylinder was colored by specific color; but in the newer version whole body of the cylinder is colored red and a specific color band is marked on the cylinder as shown in the above figure.

The older version of fire extinguishers' color classification is the most popular and still using many countries. Both types of color classification are accepted and using still now.

How to find out fire extinguishing agent by color

Water solid red for both new and old versions, suitable for Class A fire, don’t use for Class B and Class C fire;

Foam red with a blue band for the new version which was solid blue in the old version, somewhere this color is used for dry powder, suitable for Class A and Class B fires, don’t use for Class F fires;

Foam or AFFF red cream band;
Powder red with a white band, suitable for Class A, Class B, and Class E fire;
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is red with a black band for the newer version whereas in the older version, it is solid black, suitable for Class E fires;

Vaporizing Liquid - Red with Yellow band, Suitable for Class A and Class E fires, don’t use for Class F fires;

Wet Chemical red with an Oatmeal/yellow band in a newer version whereas in the older version it is an Oatmeal color, Suitable on Class F fires and may be used on Class A fires, don’t use for Class B Class C fires and Class E fires;

Halon red with the green band in the newer version whereas in the older version is solid green, suitable for fire with Liquid, Electricity, Wood, Paper, Textiles, Plastics, Coal, Chemicals, etc., don’t use in metal involved fire.

How Works Fire Extinguisher Agent

Fire Fighters need to know how fire extinguisher agent works and how to use them:

Dry Powder is a very common and well-known fire extinguisher agent, there are two types of dry powder that are used to fire extinguisher agents- standard and multi-purpose.

Dry powder knocks down the flame and reduces the fire, and the multi-purpose powder melts to foam and makes a layer on fire, and reduces the fire very effectively.

Dry Powder does not cool the fire and is not effective for normal spaces like inside the equipment.

Water cools the burning materials, suitable to use in solid materials like wood or paper.

Dangerous to use in electric fire, electricity can conduct and back to you.
Foam forms a blanket film on the surface of the burning liquid. AFFF (Aqueous Film Foaming Foam) is more effective than conventional foam.
The foam also can conduct electricity back to you for an electrical fire.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)  is non-flammable and heavier than oxygen, which produces a layer on the burning surface removing oxygen and cooling the burning surface also.

Carbon Dioxide is not suitable for confined spaces and ventilation is required after fighting the fire.

In wet Chemicals the potassium salts emulsify the oils and produce a layer on the burning surface of oil or fat, it has a great cooling effect on burning materials.
A limitation is to work only with animal and vegetable oil.

Halon is a liquefied compressed gas, it becomes a gas when released on fire, it is suitable for use in aircraft.

Halon contains CFC gas that is harmful to the environment.


Guide to Use Portable Fire Extinguisher

Portable Fire Extinguishers can save lives and valuable property by using the extinguishers as much possible as in the early stage of fires. However, they must be the correct type of fire extinguishers for a particular class of fire and they must be used correctly.

Just remember the word PASS that will guide you to use portable fire extinguishers, PASS is from the initial letter from the phrases uses in fire extinguishers using the guide as follow:

Pull the pin, pick up the extinguisher, and pull the pin first;

Aim at the base of the fire, cleverly aim where the fire is based and ready for action;

Squeeze the handle, squeeze the extinguisher handle to fight the fire;

Sweep side to side.

Sometimes multiple extinguishers may need to control the fire if it is normal size compared to a larger fire. Portable fire extinguishers in a range of sizes and ratings, the higher the size, the higher the ratings. Sometimes higher sizes of extinguishers are not so easy to handle during a fire for a single person. Considering this issue, the extinguisher can be fixed onto a moving trolley that is easy to move for fighting the fire. 

Location of Fire Extinguishers

Every working floor must be equipped with sufficient fire extinguishers. The type of fire extinguishers should be selected and placed in the proper location to the nature and class of fire.

It is very important to remember, no matter way how carefully you selected the fire extinguishers if it is not found during a fire. So, fire extinguishers' location in a workplace should be in such a way that it is visible to all, easy and quickly accessible during a fire. The location of fire extinguishers may follow the standard for employee maximum travel distance to any extinguisher:

· Class A –75 feet;
· Class B –50 feet;
· Class C –Applicable Class A or B distance;
· Class D –75 feet.

Here are some general pointers for where to locate extinguishers in your workplace, Locate them:
  • so that they are visible, along with their operating instructions and identification marks;
  • where they can be easily reached (i.e., they must not be blocked by machines or materials);
  • in or near corridors or aisles leading to exits –however, they must not block aisles;
  • where they will not expose people using them to undue risk, e.g., using a halon extinguisher in an unventilated area;
  • where they will not be damaged by moving trucks, cranes, or other work activities, or corroded by chemical processes;
  • so that they are protected against the elements (if stored outdoors).

Fire Extinguishers in Transport Units
All transport units should be equipped with proper fire extinguishers in accordance with the requirements of the local fire code. As per ADR 2001, fire extinguishers set up a standard for transport is as:

If the transport is not carrying any dangerous goods, then it has to be equipped with at least one portable fire extinguisher of Class A, Class B, and Class C with a minimum capacity of 2kg dry powder or any suitable extinguishing agent.

But, if the transport is carrying dangerous goods, then it should be taken in consideration that transport is equipped or not with an automatic extinguishing system for fighting a fire in the engine.

Depending on the transport unit’s permissible maximum mass, one or more portable fire extinguishers for the Class A, Class B and Class C with capacity 2kg, 4kg, 8kg or 12kg may be selected.

The extinguishing agent for fire extinguishers in transport units must be comply and suitable with driver health and influencing heat of the fire.

Location of Fire Extinguisher in Transport

The fire extinguishers in transport should be installed in such a way that the vehicle crew can use them easily if there is any fire. Vehicle fire extinguishers must be maintained periodically and keep it functional.

Maintenance of Portable Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguisher maintenance means a thorough examination of the fire extinguisher that is intended to give maximum assurance that a portable fire extinguisher will operate effectively and safely during the fight of the fire.

Fire extinguisher maintenance should be followed firmly, regular checking, refilling damaged ones, and maintenance after the recommended interval is required.

There are three types of maintenance that are normally followed for fire extinguishers maintenance, such as-

• Visual inspection each month;
• Maintenance check every year;
• Hydrostatically tested whenever they show new evidence of corrosion or mechanical damage or after-

CO2 : 5 years;
Water: 5 years;
Dry Chemical: 12 years (empty & refill every 6 years);
Halon: 12 years.

Fire extinguishers maintenance procedure must be followed properly, otherwise, in an emergency fighting fire time, you will find the extinguisher cylinder empty or date expired agent that’s not working.

Adequate maintenance of fire extinguishers consists of regular inspection, recharge of the agents, and periodic checks.

Give a quick check, it is done by verifying the portable fire extinguisher is in its designated place and not used or tampered with, which means no visible signs of damage and is ready for operation.

Fire extinguishers must be inspected once a month and completed check-up annually;

Following the manufacturer's instruction recharge the empty cylinder immediately with a proper agent and placed the extinguisher in their locations;

Service the extinguishers monthly and annually and replace the defective parts and extinguishers as needed;

Keep records properly of all of the inspection, replacement, and servicing activities. Record keeping may include serial number or property number and type of extinguisher; the particular location where placed extinguisher; extinguisher inspection date; description of maintenance work or hydrostatic tests carried out; marking the date of the next inspection; marking the date of scheduled annual servicing; inspector’s comments; inspector’s name and signature etc.


Rules of Fire Fighting and Evacuation System

If you don’t know how to fight fire promptly then the result may reverse and fire may explode and damage may increase. So, before going to firefighting you must know the right rules of firefighting. Some points are mentioned below that will improve the firefighting technique.
  • Never fight a fire if you don't know what is burning;
  • Never fight a fire if the fire is spreading rapidly beyond the spot where it started;
  • Never fight a fire if you don't have adequate or appropriate equipment;
  • Never fight a fire if your instincts tell you not to;
  • The final rule is to always position yourself with an exit or means of escape at your back before you attempt to use an extinguisher to put out a fire.;
  • Always keep an exit at your back;
  • Activate Fire Alarm/ if not available use hand mic;
  • Call the fire fighting station;
  • Assist injured personnel;
  • Assist physically impaired individuals; 
  • Ensure all personnel are out of the building;
  • Do not use the elevators;
  • Extinguish normal fires;
  • Report hazardous conditions;
  • Stay away from the building until it is safe to return.

Billions of dollars of property burning each year by fire, so more important to remember that King’s rules are preventing is better than fighting the fire to learning fire extinguishers using a guide. Proper personnel behavior is important in preventing the initiation of fires. Following prudent fire emergency procedures is important during fire emergencies to avoid loss of life.


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