What Are The Common Types of Fire Extinguishers

Fires are extremely dangerous occurrences, posing danger to individuals, equipment, buildings, and even surrounding areas. The hazards of fires can even increase when occurring in specific spaces such as on an aircraft, warranting the use of protective devices and equipment in any fire situation to mitigate such risks. While fire prevention is always the most desirable, unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances can result in an outbreak that must be quickly tended to for hazard reduction. As one of the most common forms of fire fighting equipment, fire extinguishers are an indispensable equipment piece of any building or space.

In their most basic form, fire extinguishers are a type of active fire protection device that may be used to extinguish or control small fires. They are considered emergency use, designed for quickly deterring the spread of a small fire that has been caught by an individual, rather than for out-of-control fires which have reached the ceiling of a room. As a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel, the fire extinguisher contains an agent that is capable of being sprayed over a flame to extinguish it. 

While many individuals are familiar with fire extinguishers due to building regulations and fire safety awareness endeavors, some may not realize that there are multiple types of extinguishers in order to fight different classes of fires. As such, it is crucial that one understands the differences between each so that they can procure the correct fire extinguisher and agent type for protecting their home, business, or space. Fires can start from various sources, and classes serve to separate fires into those fires resulting from ignited wood or paper, ignited liquids or gases, energized electrical fires, metallic fires, and cooking fires caused by animal or vegetable oils or fats. Due to the varying heat sources and chain reactions of each fire, different fire extinguishers have been designed for combating specific classes.

The ABC powder fire extinguisher is a common multi-purpose type, making it a very beneficial extinguisher to have. When operated, the ABC powder fire extinguisher discharges a fine chemical powder that is capable of suffocating flames as it blankets the source. The powder is typically made from monoammonium phosphate, and the non-conductive properties of the agent ensures that a liquid or gas fire chain reaction is broken down with ease.

While many fire extinguishers leave residue from the agent after discharge, the carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is considered one of the cleanest types due to its method of operation. Rather than using a typical agent, carbon dioxide is emitted from the extinguisher so that the fire quickly becomes oxygen starved. By removing the oxygen from a flame to extinguish it, such fire extinguishers are very useful for fighting both liquid and electrical fires.

If a fire breaks out due to cooking oils and fats, the wet chemical fire extinguisher is the most reliable choice. For their agent, such extinguishers utilize a potassium solution that sprays in a mist form. When coming into contact with the oils or fats, the mist quickly forms a thick, soap-like substance which prevents reignition. While such extinguishers are capable of fighting wood or paper fires, they are most beneficial for kitchen protection. 

The water mist fire extinguisher is very versatile, allowing it to serve most fire classes. Releasing microscopic water molecules when used, the extinguisher fights fires by decreasing oxygen and cooling down fire sources to reduce temperatures. As minerals are removed from the water agent, such extinguishers are even effective on electrical, liquid, and gas fires as well.

The foam fire extinguisher is a common extinguisher that may be used for wood, paper, and liquid based fires. The foam of the extinguisher is designed to spread out upon discharge, ensuring that the fire source is well blanketed to starve it of fuel and to mitigate the escape of vapors. As such extinguisher agents utilize water for their foam solutions, they are also effective at cutting down heat. 

The clean agent fire extinguisher is the final common type, utilizing a liquid agent that transforms into a gaseous state when discharged. The gas of the extinguisher is non-conductive and is typically composed of Halon. When directed at a fire, the agent extinguishes flames by reducing oxygen. As the gases used for such extinguishers pose no risk to humans or the environment, they are recommended for spaces that may contain electrical equipment, such as offices.

As fires can be a costly and dangerous hazard, it is paramount that proper protection of a space is implemented with the use of fire extinguishers. If you are in need of bottle fire extinguisher components, APU fire extinguisher parts, bracket fire extinguisher products, and more, Fulfillment3sixty is your sourcing solution. Fulfillment3sixty is an online distributor of aircraft parts, providing customers competitive pricing and rapid lead-times on over 2 billion new, used, and obsolete items that we carry. Get started with a personalized quote for your comparisons when you fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website.


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March 11, 2021

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