Different Types of Fire Extinguishers



fire extinguisher is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations. It is not intended for use on an out-of-control fire, such as one which has reached the ceiling, endangers the user (i.e., no escape route, smoke, explosion hazard, etc.), or otherwise requires the expertise of a fire brigade. Typically, a fire extinguisher consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent that can be discharged to extinguish a fire.

What Are the Different Classes of Fires?

Classes of Fire Extinguisher:

Here are the five classes of fire extinguisher. No single extinguisher can be used to tackle every fire, and because each type of fire extinguisher has different classes of fire on which it is effective, selection can be a minefield. The first step is to look at what materials are present in the area to be protected from fire. These can be divided into six categories of a fire involving different substances:

  • Class A combustible carbon-based solids eg paper, wood, or textiles
  • Class B, flammable liquids eg paraffin, petrol, diesel or oil (but not cooking oil)
  • Class C, flammable gases, eg butane, propane or methane
  • Class D, burning metals, eg aluminum, lithium or magnesium
  • Fires caused by electrical equipment (indicated by an electric spark symbol and not the letter E)
  • Class F, fats, and cooking oils.

What Are the Different Types of Fire Extinguishers?

There are five main types of fire extinguishers:

  • Water.
  • Powder.
  • Foam.
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
  • Wet chemical.

1.  Water Extinguishers

There are two types water extinguishers: water spray and dry water mist.

Standard water extinguishers

These will be solid red and will have the word ‘water’ or ‘aqua spray’ printed across them in white text. They are your classic model: they dispense water at a high pressure to extinguish flames.

Water extinguishers are only suitable for class A fires, which means they can fight fires that involve wood, cardboard, paper, plastics, fabric and textiles, and other solid materials.

Dry water mist extinguisher

These types of fire extinguishers will be solid red and will have the words ‘water mist’ printed within a white rectangle.

Dry water mist extinguishers are unique in that they can combat almost all types of fires, including class F fires that are usually difficult to attack. The extinguisher’s nozzle converts water into ‘dry’ microscopic particles, which are then drawn into the fire and simultaneously cool and suffocate it to extinguish the flames.



Dry chemical powder extinguishers are suitable for class A (combustible materials), class B (flammable or combustible liquids) and/or class C (electrical) fires or a combination of ABC class fires. All the extinguishers supplied conform to the minimum fire ratings as specified in SANS 1910:2009.

They are highly effective for electrical hazards. This multi-purpose extinguisher interferes with the combustion process and provides rapid-fire knockdown.

These fire extinguishers are ideal for mixed fire risk environments and especially suited for protection for liquids, storage of liquid gases, and heating oils used for industry, garages, and workshops. They work by the powder forming a crust which smothers the fire and stops it from spreading.

3.  CO2 Fire Extinguisher:

CO2 Fire Extinguisher can be used to extinguish fires caused by electrical equipment such as fire on electric circuits, electric boards, switches, wires, and other electronic equipment. It is also used in extinguishing Liquid Combustible Matters such as Petrol, Oils, paraffin, Greases, Ether, Alcohol, etc. Co2 Fire Extinguisher on trolley protects industrial fires containing dangerous chemicals and gases. CO2 Trolley Extinguisher does not leave a residue when disperses carbon dioxide.
It is very easy to move the trolley fire extinguisher as the trolley has 2 wheels, this is one of the good points that people take interest in
fire extinguishers and buy it. Even a 15 years old child can move it to the required area.



A Class Fire: Solid Matters Forming Glowing Residues E.g. Wood, Rubber, (Car Tire), Paper, Textiles.

B Class Fire: A fire caused by Liquid Combustible Matters E.g. Petrol, Oils, Greases, Ether, Alcohol.

C Class Fire: Combustible Light Metals E.g. Lithium Sodium, Magnesium, Calcium.

D Class Fire: The Burning Gases E.g. Propane, Butane, Methane, Acetylene, Town Gas.

E Class Fire: Fires on Electrical /Electronic Equipment.


4.  Foam extinguishers

Foam fire extinguishers can be used on Class A and B fires. They are most suited to extinguishing liquid fires such as petrol or diesel and are more versatile than water jet extinguishers because they can also be used on solids such as wood and paper. The foam extinguishes liquid fires by sealing the surface of the liquid, preventing flammable vapor from reaching the air and starving the fire of fuel. They are not suitable for use on free-flowing liquid fires.

5.  Wet Chemical Extinguishers

These types of fire extinguishers are identifiable by the words ‘wet chemical’ printed across a yellow rectangle. It also has an extended hose that you can hold and point, which is useful when fighting fires on a kitchen top.

Wet chemical extinguishers are designed for combating fires that involve class F fires. They are effective because they are capable of stopping fires that are of an extremely high temperature, particularly cooking oils and fats. These fire extinguishers also discharge gently, stopping the burning oils and fats from being pushed and splashing to surrounding areas or even the user.


6.  Fire blankets

Fire blankets are primarily for use on hot oil fires such as frying pans or small deep fat fryers. These fire extinguishers can also be used on someone whose clothing has caught fire. They work by smothering the fire, stopping access to the oxygen fueling it, and extinguishing it.

How to use your fire extinguisher:

Once you've made your purchases of , familiarize yourself with the fire extinguisher directions so you’ll be prepared in case you need to put out a fire. Typically, fire extinguishers are fairly easy to use in the case of a fire. Most of the types operate using the P.A.S.S. technique:

  • P. Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher in order to break the tamper seal.
  • A. Aim the fire extinguisher low, with the nozzle pointed at the base of the fire. 
  • S. Squeeze the handle of the fire extinguisher to release the extinguishing agent. 
  • S. Sweep the nozzle from side to side while pointed at the base of the fire until it is extinguished. 
  • If the fire re-ignites, repeat the last 3 steps.

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Created on Oct 1st 2020 02:13. Viewed 857 times.


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